ROXBURY, NJ - Seven schools in Roxbury met the rigorous requirements to achieve Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification.
These schools form part of a group of 111 schools that achieved the certification in 2018. A total of 779 schools and 303 school districts are participating in the program overall.
The seven Roxbury schools that achieved bronze certification are:
- Franklin Elementary School
- Jefferson Elementary School
- Kennedy Elementary School
- Nixon Elementary School
- Lincoln/Roosevelt Elementary School
- Eisenhower Middle School
- Roxbury High School
“Since 2016, Roxbury Township Public Schools has been striving to become more sustainable and green in its policies and practices, said Ann Rhodes, the district's community relations coordinator. "The board of education and administration made the decision to pursue district sustainability and green initiatives by creating and approving half a dozen different policies outlining position and efforts."
Rhodes said the school board, administration and staff share the belief that education doesn’t exist solely in the classroom. "We as educators and supporters of education, work to foster student growth academically, as well as personally," she said. "We want to produce students who are civic and environmentally-minded and who value the health and well-being of themselves and others. In order to do that, we had to walk the walk. We are working to show the students and community what being green and becoming sustainable looks like and the value these changes can have. We are proud of the hard work our students, staff and administration have put into earning Bronze certification, but our work isn’t done yet. Next up, Silver.”
A 'Significant Achievement'
Randall Solomon, the executive director of Sustainable Jersey said, “We applaud the schools that have achieved certification this year. Their leadership and hard work will help New Jersey continue to evolve through their advancement of equitable, sustainable, and innovative practices. Becoming certified with Sustainable Jersey for Schools is a significant achievement for schools and their school district.”
Sustainable Jersey for Schools, a program for pre-kindergarten through twelfth-grade public schools in New Jersey, is voluntary, but achieving certification is not easy. Each school that is certified must submit documentation to show it has completed a balanced portfolio of the program’s sustainability actions.
With most actions worth ten points each, bronze-level certification requires a minimum of 150 points per school and silver-level certification requires a minimum of 350 points. More than 3,048 sustainability actions were completed by schools and districts participating in the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program-from performing energy audits and boosting recycling efforts to integrating sustainability into student learning and promoting student and staff wellness.
Next up for Roxbury is to strive for Silver, with a few schools well on their way to the 350 points.
“Being registered with Sustainable Jersey for Schools had its own benefit that allowed registered schools to apply for small grant programs," Rhodes said. "Nixon Elementary School and Roxbury High School took advantage of this opportunity and were awarded $2,000 mini-grants since 2016.
"With all seven Roxbury schools now certified Bronze, those grant opportunities increase to $10,000 each which we hope to take advantage of in the coming year. In addition, each of the schools and district receive updates on special events, news, and additional grant opportunities like the Gardinier Environmental Fund Grant and the NJEA Grant. These updates provide us with the latest resources to assist us to become a more sustainable district."
“Sustainable schools provide a healthy environment, conserve resources and continually improve the well-being of the community," said New Jersey School Boards Association Executive Director Lawrence Feinsod. "We are proud of the leadership of the boards of education and their superintendents, as well as the contributions of principals, teachers, education support professionals and parents in this effort. Congratulations to the 111 schools that achieved Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification in 2018.”
On Oct. 23, the certified schools and their districts will be celebrated at a reception held during NJSBA Workshop 2018 in Atlantic City. NJSBA Workshop 2018 will feature Sustainable Jersey for Schools sessions along with NJSBA sustainability support programs for schools.