Action Types

There are over 100 actions districts and schools can choose from to pursue certification. Some of these actions have special attributes and are important to note when planning to achieve certification.


District Only Actions

District actions are completed in the district application and earn points for all registered schools in the district. A District-Only action can only be completed by the district and includes district policies and plans. Actions identified as School Only do not appear in the district application. All other actions can be completed by either a district or by individual schools. If the district opts to complete an action that could also be done by a school, then the schools will be blocked from working on that action in their applications. Schools are also locked out of District Only actions. But schools will see the points from any actions completed by the district in their applications.


School Only Actions

A school application lists all the program actions. Actions identified as School Only can only be completed at the school level. They are building-specific efforts such as projects, procedures, installations, lessons, and events. Actions identified as District Only can only be completed at the district level. They include district policies and plans. An action NOT identified as School Only or District Only can be completed in either the district or school application. All  District Only and other actions the district is working on will be locked in a school application but schools will see the current status of the actions and the associated points in their applications.


Mandatory Actions

The formation of a "green team" is the only mandatory action and the first step in establishing a school sustainability program. Green teams leverage the skills and expertise of team members to develop plans, implement programs, and assist with educational opportunities that support the creation of sustainable schools. Such entities can go by any name, but the role is the same: lead and coordinate the sustainability activities. A team could be established to encompass the whole district or on an individual school. Preexisting groups or committees can serve as the green team, as long as the district superintendent or principal officially designates the committee to serve in that role and it meets the requirements of the Green Team action.


Priority Actions

As part of the certification requirements a school must complete a minimum number of priority actions: 2 for bronze or 3 for silver. These actions are fundamental first steps in charting a course for a sustainable future. Identify which priority actions your district or school may already be doing or decide which priority actions your green team would like to pursue.

  • Community Education & Outreach (School Only action)
  • Digital Citizenship (District Only action)
  • District Commitment to Digital Learning (District Only action)
  • District Sustainability Policy (District Only action)
  • Equitable Access to Digital Learning (District Only action)
  • Energy Efficiency for School Facilities
  • Green Building Policy (District Only action)
  • Green Purchasing Policy (District Only action)
  • Indoor Air Quality Review (School Only action)
  • Professional Development for Sustainability
  • School Carbon Footprint
  • School Wellness Council (School Only action)
  • Student Learning+ (School Only actions)
  • Waste Audit (School Only action)

+ Only one approved action in the Student Learning Category will count towards the priority action requirement.


Digital Schools Actions

In December 2020, 12 new Digital Schools actions were added to the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program. In addition, the existing 17 actions in the Student Learning and School Culture and Climate categories were updated to address remote and hybrid learning. Successful completion of these actions counts towards achieving certification as well as Digital Schools Star recognition. To view Digital Schools actions, select the Digital Schools search filter on the Actions page or in your District or School application.

Collaboration Actions

Collaboration actions have a parallel action in the Sustainable Jersey municipal certification program. Search the municipal program participants map to find contact information for your local municipal green team and explore working with them on these actions. For example, if the school district or a school collaborates with the municipal green teams to host a town-wide green fair, both the municipal and school green team can earn points toward certification for the event.

Master Action Tracking Spreadsheet

The Master Action Tracking Spreadsheet (MATS) lists all the program actions by category, in the same order that they appear on the Actions webpage. The action types are identified. The MATS is a useful tool to identify the actions your district or school wants to pursue and track progress in completing them.

Download the MATS