NJSBA’s Consulting Service

In July 2016, NJSBA rolled out a new sustainability consulting service, designed to help schools reach their sustainability goals. As part of the service, NJSBA’s sustainability subject matter experts (SMEs) work with school green teams to create  customized sustainability plans that are tailored to meet the needs of districts, reduce operational costs, improve the indoor environmental quality of schools and infuse sustainability throughout curriculum. This customized approach is in alignment with the Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification program, the national Green Ribbon Schools award program, the Eco–Schools initiative, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

The Whole-School Sustainability Framework Through the process, NJSBA’s sustainability SMEs develop strategies to create a whole-school sustainability framework. The framework is organized into the three components: organizational culture, physical place and educational program. NJSBA sustainability SMEs work directly with the leadership and staff members of schools to help determine the best ways schools can implement sustainability measures.

Assist with Attaining the Sustainable Jersey for Schools Certification Designation With more than 500 schools and more than 200 school districts registered to date, the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program is considered one of the most successful certification programs in the state.

NJSBA assists schools in attaining the Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification by suggesting sustainable practices aligned to the certification categories. Those categories can lead to cost savings in energy, water, waste, green purchasing, and more. The Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification program also provides access to grants to help fund sustainability efforts.

NJSBA was instrumental in helping Sustainable Jersey launch the voluntary Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification-recognition program for school districts in New Jersey in 2014.

Align District Sustainability Strategies to Teacher Professional Development  NJSBA can help schools implement a projects- and problem-based learning approach to include students in real-world and hands-on experiences as districts move toward sustainability. NJSBA can also show teachers how to use the building as a learning lab, and help align the district sustainability goals with professional development  goals for  teachers. This alignment helps to ensure that a district’s sustainability goals are integrated throughout the curriculum.

Provide Guidance with Building Operations and Maintenance Strategies Our sustainability SMEs work directly with building and grounds staff to improve every aspect of the operation and maintenance of facilities.

These practices will create a healthier learning environment that may lower the incidence of illness and absenteeism among students and staff.

Guidance with Policy, Goal Setting, Strategic Planning, and Long Range Facility Plans It is important to look at sustainability as a long-range plan driven by the actions (such as policies) that will ensure that sustainability becomes part of the school’s culture. NJSBA’s sustainability SMEs work directly with the Association’s policy consultants to help craft specific policies and work with the field service representatives to infuse sustainability into every aspect of a school’s strategic plan, goal-setting, and long-range facility plans.

If you would like more information on NJSBA Sustainability Consulting Services, please contact [email protected]

Additional NJSBA Sustainability Initiatives

Sustainability at the Annual Workshop Conference The NJSBA/NJASA/NJASBO annual Workshop conference has become a destination for school leaders to learn about sustainable practices. Last year more than 1300 people passed through the Sustainability Exhibit Floor area which featured more than 25 demonstrations of sustainable practices. This year, the area has been rebranded as the “Sustainable and Healthy Schools Center,” and will also include resources and training on health and wellness. Workshop is a carbon-neutral event with many examples of sustainable practices that can be implemented at your school. This year’s conference will take place from Oct. 25 – 27 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Learn more at workshop.njsba.org.

acesplus logoACESplus Many districts have completed free energy audits under the Local Government Energy Audit program, but find it difficult to implement comprehensive upgrades due to funding shortfalls, the complications of New Jersey’s procurement laws, or other resource limitations.

ACESplus uses a fully-customized approach to help schools navigate complex financial and technical issues to implement enhanced energy solutions such as renewable sources, energy security, and resource efficiency. To learn more contact Carol Friedman at [email protected]

N.J. Green Program of Study Pilot John Henry, NJSBA’s iSTEAM and Sustainable Schools Specialist, managed several years of the pilot project of the N.J. Green  Program of Study for Sustainable Design, Green Construction and Sustainable Energy. It is an innovative partnership between education, government and business that developed a statewide technical education program for emerging “green” careers. This evolving education model links high school with collegiate study, advanced training and apprenticeships through a progression of coursework that will prepare students for success. It is the first time a career and technical education program in New Jersey has been developed on a statewide level to meet local and regional workforce needs.  During the pilot, training was provided for more than a dozen schools districts, curriculum was updated and support and guidance was made available to schools.  In recognition of this work, and NJSBA and the New Jersey Department of Education received a Best Practices in Sustainable Education award from the US Green Building Council N.J. Chapter in late 2015.

sustainable schools projectN.J. Sustainable Schools Project (NJSSP) To help school board members learn about the impact of sustainability measures in schools, NJSBA managed a three-year pilot with 11 school districts to document the processes they use to lower their operational costs, and redirect those savings to other educational priorities. The project highlighted steps that can be taken to improve a school’s operations in finance, buildings and grounds, curriculum, policy and other areas involved in the day-to-day and long-term operation of a school.   

leafGreen Ribbon Schools Program NJSBA staff members were on the original committee that assisted with establishing the Green Ribbon Schools program for the N.J. Department of Education, part of a recognition program from the U.S. Department of Education. NJSBA continues to serve on the selection committee that reviews applications from New Jersey districts and makes recommendations on which schools to submit for national recognition. 

Training Programs

NJSBA provides several sustainability training programs throughout the year. Some programs highlight leadership actions that can be taken by school districts, and promote strategies that should be in every school’s strategic plan and policy. Other one-day sessions help schools conduct a Sustainability Wellness Check, which is in alignment with the Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification program.

Partnerships NJSBA partnered with Rider University for its first annual Sustainability Student Symposium; more than 150 students attended to learn how to become environmental stewards. One session was specific to board members, parents and other school officials regarding decisions that can be made to support sustainability initiatives at the district level.

For more than 25 years, the Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education (ANJEE)  has run its conference  for educators. This past year NJSBA collaborated with ANJEE to feature the role of the school board and to review the results of the N.J. Sustainable Schools Project.

NJSBA, in collaboration with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, provided an hour-long webinar on water quality for more than 200 people. NJSBA plans on offering similar webinars in other topic areas in sustainability in the future.