Sustainable Jersey: Cost savings, collaboration and champions

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2017 school and district sustainability awards announced

This week, Sustainable Jersey for Schools celebrated the 91 schools that achieved Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification in 2017 at an awards event attended by over 250 teachers, principals, green team volunteers, school board members and staff. In addition to the newly certified schools, we announced the three schools and two school districts that received 2017 Sustainable Jersey for Schools special awards.

Lawrence Township Public Schools gets revenue from the sun

Lawrence Township Public Schools received the 2017 Sustainability Makes $ense Award that recognizes a district that has made exemplary progress in sustainability resulting in cost savings to the school district. Located in the heart of central New Jersey, Lawrence Township Public Schools includes: Lawrence High School (1,150 students), Lawrence Intermediate School (920 students in grades 4-6), Lawrence Middle School (590 students in grades 7-8 attending) and four PK-3 elementary schools (1,300 students). Four of the seven schools in the district have achieved Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification.

Since 2010, Lawrence Township Public Schools has earned over three million dollars in revenue from energy generated by solar panels on all seven district school buildings. This revenue is in addition to the energy usage offset by the panels. The total solar panel revenue plus cost of energy offset by the panels totals over four million dollars.

Dr. Crystal Edward, Superintendent of Lawrence Township Public Schools explained the process, “We were delighted in 2008 when our Board of Education proposed and the Lawrence residents supported a referendum to place solar panels on the roofs of all seven schools. Since that time, revenue generated and savings earned by energy usage offset by the panels is passed to Lawrence residents in the form of tax relief. To be recognized by Sustainable Jersey for Schools with a Sustainability Makes $ense Award for this green initiative is the icing on the cake.”

Municipal and school green teams collaborate in Delran Township

Delran Township Schools received the 2017 Green Team Collaboration Award that recognizes municipal and school green teams working together to advance sustainability. The Delran Township School District, located in Burlington County, includes four schools that serve students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. All four of the schools in the district have achieved Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification.

Erica DeMichele, Delran Township School District, K-12 Supervisor of Science, Technology, Engineering, STEM Program Co-Coordinator, and Sustainability Program Coordinator said, “Delran Township Schools and the Delran Municipal Green Team began their collaboration at the infancy of the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program. That work includes education to the broader community at events like Delran Day, the Delran STEM Fair, planting 1,800 native species in the Millbridge School rain garden and planting wildflowers in the community.

One notable success is the biodiversity audit completed by the middle school green team and seventh grade class last year, in conjunction with the Municipal Green Team’s task force on collecting data to stop the invasive Emerald Ash Borer.” In addition, the student green teams are impressive, with over 250 active participants at the four schools.

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Three schools in Long Branch School District get Sustainability Champion Awards

The Long Branch Public School District is a leader in sustainability. Long Branch is a beach-side city in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The school district has nine schools and an enrollment of 5,396 students. All nine schools have achieved Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification and two schools–George L. Catrambone Elementary School and Long Branch Middle School–were each recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Green Ribbon School.

Three schools from Long Branch School District were recognized as 2017 Sustainability Champions for making significant progress toward sustainability and earning Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification with the highest point level in their category. The 2017 Champions are: George M. Catrambone Elementary School, Long Branch Middle School and Long Branch High School.

The school district has embarked on a successful district-wide sustainability program. Solar panels were installed on eight schools and green initiatives were implemented district-wide. Dr. Michael Salvatore, the Long Branch Superintendent of Schools said, “It is truly an honor for our school community to be recognized for actively engaging our stakeholders in sustainable practices. Our children are learning important lessons that will have a lasting positive impact upon our world.”

To date, 279 school districts and 693 schools are taking part in the Sustainable Jersey program. The district participation has grown to include 46 percent of all New Jersey school districts. From energy audits to integrating sustainability into student learning, and boosting recycling efforts, the past year has been exceptional.

Over 2,700 sustainability actions were completed by schools and districts participating in the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program and over $1.2 million in grants have been awarded to schools and school districts.


 

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