Sustainable Jersey for SchoolsReady to Certify the First Group of SchoolsLaunched in October 2014, Sustainable Jersey for Schools now has 95 New Jersey school districts registered in the program and 269 schools working toward achieving certification. Of this inaugural group, 70 schools within 24 school districts submitted initial applications that identified more than 2,000 certification actions that the schools and districts plan to pursue.
Schools collaborate with their district to complete actions, upload documentation and achieve certification. Certification status is awarded to the individual school, but each district completes an application documenting the completion actions that benefit all schools in the district.
The first group of certified schools will be celebrated at a reception at the 2015 New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) Workshop 2015 Conference on October 27-29, 2015. Workshop 2015 will feature several sessions on the Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification program. Look for program staff in the NJSBA Services Area as well as in the iSTEM and Green Command Center.64 NJ Schools and School Districts Receive Sustainable Jersey for Schools GrantsTo date $500,000 in grants has been offered to districts and schools to make progress on sustainability actions. In June, Sustainable Jersey for Schools announced the 31 schools and four school districts that were selected to receive a Sustainable Jersey for Schools Small Grant funded by the PSEG Foundation.
Galloway Township Superintendent of Schools Dr. Annette Giaquinto comments, “Our entire school community is pleased and proud to accept this grant that supports our Sustainable Jersey program at Galloway Township Middle School (GTMS) and our overall efforts to be environmentally responsible. This is truly a team effort, and we will continue to work collaboratively on behalf of our students, families, schools, and community. Thank you for this funding which helps support our ongoing initiatives.”
GTMS Principal Paula Junker added, “The amazing Sustainable Jersey for Schools program has already had a monumental impact on our school climate and has encouraged our students to develop innovative methods to reduce waste while adding beauty to our school environment. Being awarded a Sustainable Jersey for Schools grant provides our students the opportunity to continue their work in Mr. B’s Backyard Classroom and with the abundance of learning opportunities that take place in our school’s hands-on, outdoor classroom. Support from the program will enable us to continue to expand our program to include the entire seventh grade science classes, as well as offer our Nature Fest to three schools and our Galloway Township community.”
The first cycle of grants funded initiatives including the planning of a green school building, achieving a no-foam cafeteria zone, implementing a district-wide green cleaning program, promotion of water hydration stations, development of school teaching gardens, sustainability education initiatives and more. Grant recipients came from eleven New Jersey counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Middlesex, Sussex, Union and Warren.
In August, Sustainable Jersey for Schools announced the 24 New Jersey schools and five school districts that were selected to receive a Sustainable Jersey for Schools Small Grant funded by the New Jersey Department of Health. These grants will support school and district initiatives including wellness programs, water bottle filling stations, school gardens, healthy food campaigns, physical activity clubs, yoga programs and more. Grant recipients came from thirteen counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris and Union.
Sustainable Jersey is offering at least two additional grant cycles for school districts and their participating schools that are registered with Sustainable Jersey. The Sustainable Jersey Small Grants Program cycle funded by New Jersey Education Association providing $180,000 in grants, closes on September 27, 2015. Energy-focused grants are targeted for an announcement in early fall 2015. Now is the time to have your school board adopt the resolution to participate and register your interested schools.
To learn more about the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program and to see the current grant and resource opportunities, visit www.sustainablejerseyschools.com/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For assistance registering your district call 609.771.3427.