2021 Certification Application Cycle

Sustainable Jersey for Schools operates on a once a year application cycle, with three submission dates.  See the chart below for details on the structure and timing of the application cycle. To maximize the potential for feedback and ultimately achieve certification, it is highly recommended to submit an application with documentation for at least two rounds of review. Applicants who wait until the final deadline to submit an initial application will not have the opportunity to correct any deficiencies until the next year’s certification cycle.


Preparing to Submit for the Final June 21 Certification Application Deadline?

This webinar provides an overview of how to prepare applications for the final round of review in the 2021 certification cycle. It also covers how to finalize and submit applications for Digital Schools Star recognition.

Watch Certification Homestretch Webinar 


Important Note for Schools with Certification Expiring in 2021

In response to the disruption of schools’ normal operations and activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sustainable Jersey for Schools will extend certifications due to expire on 08-31-2021 by one year. We will automatically issue the extension at the end of the current application cycle in August to any school in this cohort that does not get recertified. 

Schools that received an extension last year may get an additional one-year extension to 2022 if they request one. To request a second one-year certification extension, send a letter from the school’s principal requesting the extension and stating the intention to recommit to the program next year. (A board resolution may be sent instead if requesting an extension for multiple schools).  Send the letter or resolution to schools@sustainablejersey.com by the final application deadline of June 21, 2021

Expiring schools that submit applications this year and do not earn enough points to get certified will be given the one-year extension of their current certification, and any points earned this year will remain valid in the application at least through the 2022 application cycle. 



First RoundSecond RoundThird Round
Submission DeadlineJanuary 15March 26June 21
Return DateLate FebruaryEarly MayEarly August



Timeline Details

Timeline & Submission/Resubmission Requirements
Sept. 1

New Program Year Starts

  • Schools seeking certification in 2021 start working on applications.
  • Schools with certification expiring in August 2021 begin working on re-certification
  • School and District green teams work on completing actions and uploading documentation to their applications.
Tip: Submit initial applications in January and March and use reviewers' feedback to help achieve certification.
Jan. 15

First Online Application Submission Deadline

  • District/school applicant prepares an initial application by uploading available action documentation. Actions marked as “Completed” will be reviewed.
  • Additional documentation may be uploaded during the second and final submission review cycles.
Late February

First-Round Review Comments Provided

  • Each reviewed action will be marked as “Approved” or “Must Revise” with comments provided.
  • Applicants have the opportunity to complete required activities and/or documentation to receive credit for actions marked as “Must Revise.”
March 26

Second Online Application Deadline

  • Districts and Schools that submitted applications in January have a second opportunity to provide documentation and update actions that were marked “Must Revise” or to complete new actions. Initial applications may also be submitted at this time.
  • Actions should be marked as “Completed” then submitted for review.
Early May

Second-Round Review Comments Provided

  • Each reviewed action will be marked as "Approved" or "Must Revise" with comments provided

  • Applicants have a final opportunity to complete required activities and/or documentation to receive credit for actions marked as "Must Revise"
June 21

Final Decision on Pending Applications

  • This is the final opportunity for districts and schools to submit documentation for "Must Revise" or new actions

  • All actions submitted should contain documentation to address any deficiencies or meet action requirements.

  • NOTE: For applications submitted for the first time in June, there will not be an opportunity to update the application based on the feedback provided until January 2022.

Early August

Final Certification Notifications to Schools

  • All schools that have met the certification requirements will be considered certified at the bronze or silver level based on the accumulated points total and considered for the Sustainable Jersey for Schools annual awards.

  • Certified schools and annual award winners will be recognized at the Sustainable Jersey for Schools Awards to be held at the NJSBA Workshop in October.