Certification Overview

Districts and schools participating in Sustainable Jersey for Schools complete actions to achieve points towards two levels of certification for schools: Bronze and Silver. The requirements for each are listed below. Districts do not get certified, but can participate in the application process to help their schools achieve certification.

Bronze certification means a school has made a commitment to sustainability and has succeeded in implementing significant first steps, while silver certification means a school has made significant progress in a number of categories toward sustainability and is a statewide and national leader.



Bronze Certification Requirements

  • Establishment of mandatory green team
  • Implement 2 of 14 priority actions
  • Complete actions in 6 of 22 categories
  • Total of at least 150 points


Silver Certification Requirements

  • Establishment of mandatory green team
  • Implement 3 of 14 priority actions
  • Complete actions in 8 of 22 categories
  • Total of at least 350 points

How Are Certification Requirements Met?

Each level of certification requires the establishment of a green team to coordinate the certification process, but schools may use existing groups, such as a School Wellness Council, to serve as a green team. Schools must attain a certain number of points, including points from actions identified as “priority actions” to qualify for certification. Districts and schools can earn points for completing actions selected from the comprehensive list of sustainability actions under a broad range of categories. Actions include planning, assessment, policies, procedures, operations, programs, and outreach. Applicants provide documents and information in their online application to show that their efforts meet the standards described for each action. Step-by-step directions and resources for completing the action are provided in each action description.

What is the Role of the District in Achieving Certification?

Certification is not awarded to districts, but districts have their own application which they can use to contribute points towards their schools’ certification efforts. Some actions, such as policies, can only be completed by districts. Some actions can be completed by either the district or schools. Points earned for actions in the district application will be added to the applications of all schools in that district.

How Long is Certification Good For?

A school's certification status lasts for 3 program years. To avoid a lapse in certification a school will need to apply for recertification in an application cycle that ends before the expiration date of its current certification. For example, if a school’s certification expires on August 31, 2023, the latest it could apply for recertification to avoid a lapse is the January to June 2023 application cycle. However, a school may recertify in any year. Some schools recertify at shorter intervals to maintain momentum or to capitalize on approved points in the application before they expire.

Note about actions: Individual approved actions in the application expire independently of the certification. Expired actions need to be updated to continue to earn points for them when recertifying. Schools can recertify at either bronze or silver level and do not need to advance to, or retain silver certification.

Additional Questions?

Visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.