Education

Kings Road School Receives Sustainability Certification

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(Left to right): Johanna Habib, Trina Mallik, Sarah Fischer, Kings Road School Principal Kathy Koop and Madison Superintendent Mark Schwarz receive a bronze-level certificate for greening the school. Credits: Kings Road School
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MADISON, NJ – Kings Road School has met rigorous requirements to achieve a Sustainable Jersey for Schools bronze certification. 

The Kings Road application received a total of 200 points for completion of 19 different sustainability actions, including establishment of a thriving learning garden program for students grades K-5, improvement of waste reduction and recycling efforts with a Trashless Tuesdays lunch program and integration of sustainability into student learning through the More than Madison program and the school mural project. 

Kings Road joins an elite group of 91 schools that attained the Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification this year. A total of 194 schools in New Jersey have been certified since the program’s inception in 2014 with 279 school districts participating in the program overall. 

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The school was notified of its certification in mid August, and was honored along with other certified schools at an Oct. 24 reception during a New Jersey School Boards Association workshop in Atlantic City.  

“We are proud of the leadership provided by the boards of education and their superintendents, as well as the contributions of principals, teachers, education support professionals and parents that made this important milestone a reality,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, executive director of the School Boards Association. “We congratulate the schools on achieving Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification.” 

Sustainable Jersey for Schools, a program for K-12 public schools in New Jersey, is voluntary, but achieving certification requires commitment, according to school officials. Each school that is certified at the bronze level must submit documentation to show it has completed a balanced portfolio of the program’s sustainability actions, attaining a minimum of 150 points. Silver-level certification requires a minimum of 350 points. 

Establishment of a “green team” is required to obtain certification at any level. The Kings Road Green Team is a parent-led organization established in the spring of 2016 by Trina Mallik to make the school “a more sustainable community.” 

Mallik, who serves on Madison’s Environmental Commission, and other Green Team volunteers helped create a school garden at Kings Road, where children now spend one class per semester learning about environmental sustainability and growing food.

“In the overstimulated world we live in, to be able to sit outside, to see a pretty flower, to plant vegetables, is calming, good for you, and it balances out the electronics that all kids are on,” Mallik said.

Kings Road Principal Kathleen Koop said she is “tremendously proud” of her school’s community for its commitment to going green.

“Our garden is the centerpiece of our school, and the garden offers a concrete learning experience for our students about the importance of sustainability,” she said. “I am so grateful for the school Green Team, students, teachers, staff, parents, Board of Education and district administrators for their collective efforts and support to accomplish our sustainability initiatives.

“Thank you to Sustainable Jersey for Schools for recognizing our commitment. I am looking forward to continuing to work as a community to integrate sustainability actions within the culture of our school.”

Sustainable Jersey for Schools is a nonprofit certification program for public schools in New Jersey. It was launched by Sustainable Jersey, a nonprofit organization that provides tools, training and financial incentives to support and reward municipalities and schools as they pursue sustainability programs. At least 279 school districts and 694 schools are participating in the program to date. The district participation has grown to include 46 percent of all state school districts. 

Sustainable Jersey for Schools works in a partnership with The Sustainability Institute at The College of New Jersey and is underwritten by the New Jersey School Boards Association, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Clean Energy Program, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the New Jersey Education Association. The 2017 Sustainable Jersey for Schools small grants program is funded by the PSEG Foundation, NJEA, the Gardinier Environmental Fund and the New Jersey Department of Health. Founding sponsor contributors are South Jersey Gas, New Jersey Natural Gas and NJM Insurance Group. Bayer Foundation and Investors Bank are silver sponsors.

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