The students at Unity Charter School are no strangers to tackling environmental issues, utilizing systems thinking, and creating applicable solutions. Twelve middle school students from Unity Charter have been identified to participate in an overnight student exchange on March 21-22 in Brigantine, New Jersey.  The Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority, through their Clean Communities program, selected Unity Charter School for this honor. Clean Communities states that the purpose of the student exchange is to convene a “Think Tank” of students committed to researching and solving environmental problems.  It will encourage students from diverse backgrounds to find common denominators in solving problems, and promote an awareness of the natural environment and the cleanliness ethic. “  

The students taking part in the exchange are students who completed their Personal Learning Plan (PLP) with Grades of Green.  At Unity, PLPs are developed jointly as a partnership between student and teacher in order to identify a student’s academic strengths and areas of focus, multiple intelligences, interests and abilities. Strategies are planned to enhance or help to improve their academic and non-academic growth and development.  The goal of PLP is to have students develop their metacognitive skills by encouraging them to think about their thinking.

Last trimester, through Unity’s rigorous PLP, students collaborated with Grades of Green.  Grades of Green is a non-profit that works to help schools  have free and easy access to the tools and information needed to empower and inspire students to care for the environment.  Together, with Grades of Green, a group of middle school students took part in video conferences with Grades of Green mentors.  They performed water and waste audits through hours of meticulous research, and action plans. The students successfully implemented ways to conserve water and reduce trash production.  Their findings will be shared with students from other counties in New Jersey at the summit. This opportunity allows for meaningful face to face collaboration and discourse with peers beyond the classroom walls.

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"Unity Charter School exemplifies educational excellence, infusing Education for Sustainability throughout our culture", said school officials . "Student agency drives critical thinking and inspires advocacy through a constructivist learning approach. Unity fosters global understanding and graduates students ready to change the world for the better.

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For more information, contact Connie Sanchez at 973-292-1808.