EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — All Egg Harbor Township public schools have again met the rigorous requirements to achieve Sustainable Jersey for Schools bronze certification this year.

Sustainable Jersey for Schools is a two-tiered certification program for New Jersey public schools that offers both silver and bronze awards, based on the number of points the schools achieve on their applications. This is the third certification cycle that Egg Harbor Township Schools have succeeded in meeting the stringent requirements of the program.

Launched in 2014, Sustainable Jersey for Schools has twice awarded Egg Harbor Township High School with Silver Certification, and once each to Alder Avenue Middle School and E.H. Slaybaugh Elementary School. Egg Harbor Township High School and Alder Avenue Middle School have also both been named Sustainable Champions by Sustainable Jersey for Schools in the past. The Champion Award recognizes schools that have made significant progress toward sustainability and have been certified with the most Sustainable Jersey for Schools points.

In 2015, Egg Harbor Township School District received the Sustainable Jersey for Schools Leadership Award for being the first district to have all schools certified in the inaugural year of the program. The following year, Egg Harbor Township School District was awarded the Sustainable Jersey for Schools Sustainability Hero Award.

Each school that is certified must show it has completed a balanced portfolio of the program’s sustainability actions, attaining a minimum of 150 points for bronze certification and a minimum of 350 point to earn silver certification. 

Certification requires significant commitment and relies on an intense application process that not only requires the schools to communicate their sustainable accomplishments through written answers, but also through documented proof of benchmarks reached and uploaded to support each of those answers.

The far-reaching application requires districts/schools to provide answers and documentation in areas such as board leadership and planning; sustainability policy implementation; green enhancement of strategic plans; community asset mapping; energy efficiency; climate mitigation & renewable energy; onsite renewable geothermal and solar systems; green cleaning policy and plan; green cleaning training, equipment and purchasing; indoor air quality; anti-idling campaigns; iSTEAM policies, units of study, and sustainability professional development; all arts disciplines offered at all age levels; green infrastructure; biodiversity projects; community education and outreach; school-hosted green fairs; civic and stewardship volunteer initiatives; student learning sustainability initiatives; staff wellness programs; waste audits; safe driving awareness programs; recycling; clean water initiatives; healthy food choices; promoting locally grown foods; healthy food choices beyond the cafeteria; school gardens; breakfast after the bell; diversity on district task forces and committees and more.

The application changes annually and is set forth by New Jersey leaders drawn from school districts, state agencies, academia, government, the nonprofit sector and the business community who volunteer to serve on the state’s Sustainable Jersey for Schools Task Forces. The documentary evidence is reviewed by the task forces to ensure the action and documentation meets their high standards. Only efforts that meet those standards are accepted and counted toward certification, and those actions expire after two years, meaning that the schools have to show new evidence that they are continuing to meet those requirements in new ways every year.

Egg Harbor Township Schools will be recognized at an awards ceremony planned for 4 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 22, during the New Jersey School Boards Association Workshop at the Atlantic City Convention Center. For more information, contact Ellen Gregory at 646-8441 X1017 or via email to gregorye@eht.k12.nj.us.

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