Sustainable Jersey for Schools
Sustainable Jersey for Schools
Posted on 03/24/2021
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Benjamin Franklin Middle School Awarded Sustainability Grant

March 24, 2021

Ridgewood, NJ – Sustainable Jersey for Schools and the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) announced that Benjamin Franklin Middle School  (BFMS) has been awarded a $2,000 Sustainable Jersey for Schools grant. Fourteen $10,000 grants and twenty $2,000 grants were distributed to support a variety of projects including outdoor classrooms, aquaponics food production, water bottle refilling stations, anti-bias training, school wellness programs, waste reduction, student green team capacity building and more.

The Green Team at BFMS plans to purchase a Hydroponic Vertical Tower for year-round planting. This is an exciting opportunity to get students involved in sustainability initiatives. A tree will also be planted on the school grounds to celebrate Earth Day and raise awareness about the benefits of trees to our environment. 

"Benjamin Franklin Middle School is elated to have been selected as a Sustainable Jersey for Schools grant recipient.  Although we have a long way to go, we are confident this is a major step toward making our school a conscious contributor for positive environmental change,” said Greg Wu, assistant principal.  “With the support from our community and continued efforts to involve students and enhance curriculum, joined with the efforts of Sustainable Jersey for Schools, BFMS is on a mission to help instill lifelong and meaningful practices that will benefit future generations." 

As a program underwriter, NJEA has provided $1.5 million to the Sustainable Jersey Grants Program and Sustainable Jersey for Schools program in order to support a sustainable future for children across the state. “NJEA is honored to continue our work with Sustainable Jersey as we direct resources into our schools that will support these innovative programs,” said NJEA Vice President Sean M. Spiller. “It is our job to help create a new generation of engaged citizens and leaders. As our communities face economic and racial inequities, we have an opportunity to teach our students to be resourceful with recycling, sustainable living, and environmentalism and to pass that knowledge on. By emphasizing the value of sustainability, we also help ensure that we leave a better world for our students.”

“On the heels of an unquestionably difficult year, Sustainable Jersey is pleased to support the schools and districts working on sustainability initiatives,” said Sustainable Jersey Executive Director Randall Solomon. “Congratulations to the schools and districts that received a grant. Your innovative projects will have a lasting impact on the future of New Jersey.” Proposals were judged by an independent Blue-Ribbon Selection Committee. The Sustainable Jersey for Schools grants are intended to help school districts and schools make progress toward a sustainable future in general, and specifically toward Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification.

About Sustainable Jersey for Schools
Sustainable Jersey for Schools is a certification program for public schools in New Jersey. It was launched by Sustainable Jersey, an organization that provides tools, training and financial incentives to support and reward municipalities and schools as they pursue sustainability programs. 

Sustainable Jersey for Schools is underwritten by the New Jersey School Boards Association, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Clean Energy Program, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the PSEG Foundation and the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA). The 2021 Sustainable Jersey for Schools Grants Program is underwritten by the PSEG Foundation, NJEA and the Gardinier Environmental Fund. Platinum and founding sponsors are South Jersey Gas and New Jersey Natural Gas. The gold and founding sponsor is the NJM Insurance Group. The silver sponsor is Solar Landscape. The bronze sponsors are Gabel Associates, the ECG Group and Maschio’s Food Service Inc. and Investors Bank.

Somerville Elementary School
Achieves Sustainability Certification

Somerville Elementary School has met the rigorous requirements to achieve Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification. This school forms part of a group of 147 schools that achieved the Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification in 2020.

“I am thrilled that we have earned a designation as a Sustainable School - Bronze Level," said Dr. Lorna Oates-Santos, principal of Somerville Elementary School. “The team of teachers and parents who worked hard to document the robust initiatives at Somerville School are committed to continuing to reflect on our practices and refine our work around how we both educate all in the community about the impact we have on the health of the environment and the power we have to make positive change around us!  We believe that this work is not a temporary activity but, rather, planting seeds for lifelong practices that honor a healthy coexistence of humans and nature!”

Sustainable Jersey for Schools, a program for pre-kindergarten through twelfth-grade public schools in New Jersey, is voluntary, but achieving certification takes commitment and collaborative effort. 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. This year, six schools achieved certification at the more advanced silver level which requires a minimum of 350 points of sustainability actions.

2020 Sustainable Jersey for Schools Certified Schools

To view the complete press release, visit the Communications page on the district website.

Patch - Ridgewood Glen Rock Article

Ridgewood News E-Edition Article

Congratulations to the Somerville Green Team!

Somerville Elementary School was awarded a $2,000 Sustainable Jersey capacity-building grant funded by the PSEG Foundation. 
The grants fund on-the-ground, sustainability and capacity building projects such as sustainable food production programs, waste reduction and recycling initiatives, health and wellness programs, outdoor classrooms and more.

To read the press release, click here.

Lorna - grant award