Last fall at Workshop 2014, the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) and Sustainable Jersey launched Sustainable Jersey for Schools, a voluntary sustainability certification-recognition program for school districts in New Jersey.

Sustainable Jersey for Schools recently hit its first big milestone with more than 100 schools registered in the certification program. At the school district level, forty-seven districts have passed a school board resolution to participate in the program. After a school district is enrolled, the schools within the district register by providing a letter of participation signed by the principal and superintendent. Registered schools form a green team and start the process to complete the sustainability certification. New districts and schools are being accepted into the program as board resolutions are adopted.

Based on the successful Sustainable Jersey certification program for municipalities (74 percent of New Jersey municipalities participate), Sustainable Jersey for Schools promotes a comprehensive and results-oriented approach to sustainability. Participating schools can choose from 87 actions, such as performing energy audits, integrating sustainability into student learning, and boosting recycling efforts, to earn points for certification. The program helps schools rise to the critical demands and new challenges of the 21st century.

Sustainable Jersey for Schools is now accepting grant applications from New Jersey public school districts and schools for sustainability projects. Funded by the PSEG Foundation, the Sustainable Jersey for Schools Small Grants Program will award four $10,000 grants to school districts for projects like food waste recycling, school gardens, school health assessments and renewable energy initiatives and thirty $2,000 capacity-building grants will be awarded to support school green teams. Application proposals are being accepted through April 26. Visit the grants page to submit an online application.

In addition to Sustainable Jersey for Schools, NJSBA is involved in a number of sustainability initiatives, including the NJ Sustainable Schools Project, the N.J. Green Program of Study, training programs and in-district consultations. To learn more about ways NJSBA can help your school or district reach its sustainability goals, contact John Henry, STEM and sustainable schools specialist, at [email protected] or Kara Angotti, U.S. Green Building Council fellow, at [email protected]