Project Implementation & Professional Development Delivery
IN MAY 2013, NJSBA TOOK RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE NEW JERSEY SUSTAINABLE SCHOOLS PROJECT FROM EDUCATIONAL INFORMATION AND RESOURCE CENTER (EIRC) AND ASSUMED THE ROLE OF MANAGING AGENT. IN JUNE, SUPERINTENDENTS FROM THE PARTICIPATING PILOT DISTRICTS WERE ASKED TO RECOMMIT THEIR EFFORTS TO THE PROJECT BY (RE)IDENTIFYING A TEAM LEADER AND SIGNING AN AGREEMENT TO PARTICIPATE THROUGH COMPLETION OF THE PROGRAM, JUNE 30, 2015. ONE DISTRICT DECLINED RECOMMITMENT AND 11 PILOT DISTRICTS MOVED FORWARD. A MONTHLY STIPEND,DRAWN FROM THE PROJECT BUDGET, WAS ESTABLISHED FOR THE TEAM LEADERS FOR THEIR PARTICIPATION.
To effectively coordinate and support the 11 pilot districts in their goals and outcomes, the NJSSP director hired a coordinator to oversee and participate in routine communication outlined below:
- Monthly one-on-one calls with team leaders
- Over the course of 15 months, individual calls provided an opportunity for team leaders to seek support and share developments with the project
- Monthly team leader Group Call
- These calls encouraged participants to share best practices and to ask sister pilot schools about processes, tasks, what was working and what was
- Monthly webinar*
- The webinar series was developed in cooperation with the subject matter experts and covered topics such as baseline goal setting, Sustainable Jersey for Schools, sustainable gardening, indoor air quality, Green Apple Day of Service, New Jersey Eco-Schools and sustainable purchasing Team leaders were encouraged to invite other green team members and key stakeholder staff to participate and were given access to the New Jersey Eco Schools Webinar Series.
*During some months the webinar was replaced by full- or half-day, in-person professional development workshops, detailed below. These three topic-specific professional development workshops were designed to deepen sustainability knowledge and expand professional skill sets of the team leaders and their district peers. The workshops were held at venues that demonstrated sustainable practices through services to districts, environmental stewardship and public school children. Attendees earned Certificates of Completion. The carbon footprint of each workshop was offset with alternative energy certificates through www.carbonfund.org deeming each event “carbon neutral”. This effort was taken in order to raise the awareness of the carbon impact of activities and how to potentially address this.