The following are observations, about the NJSSP. The observations have been compiled over a two-year period from the project team, which included the project’s director, manager and coordinator, and are not intended to be prescriptive or suggest that there is one way for implementing sustainable best practices.
In fact, sustainability for each school, and the way in which it has been implemented, was different for each pilot school, including the position of team leader, the students who participated in projects and the level of commitment from the school administration. The pilot schools provided a snapshot of what may occur in any school and what may motivate or impede the implementation of sustainable best practices.
- Schools that did not have a well-established green team struggled with implementing their measurable objectives.
- If professional development sessions were not attended by a diverse group of key stakeholders.
- The sustainability goals of the professional development were often misunderstood and not connected to the school’s measurable objectives.
- PARCC and other existing school initiatives diverted time and resources that were necessary for sustainability efforts to have a greater impact on operations and maintenance and student achievement.
- Sustainability was often seen as an add-on project and not a whole-school improvement plan.
- Teachers and facility directors needed to connect more on curriculum and to utilize the building as a teaching tool.
- Additional education on sustainability was needed to be provided to the pilot schools by the project team and was difficult to schedule due to time commitments and personnel job responsibilities.
- All participants did not have a common understanding of sustainability.
- Committed individuals in the pilot schools worked with a small percentage of the staff to implement measurable objectives.
- Pilot schools that engaged their students in almost every phase of implementing measurable objectives increased their capacity to reach their objective.
- Turnover in a school’s leadership had a negative impact on progress in sustainability efforts.