Skip to main content

Sustainable Jersey certification

High School North students at outdoor classroom
Bronze certification through Sustainable Jersey was achieved thanks to numerous initiatives, actions, and projects, including High School North's outdoor classroom (above). And to prove it, Assistant Superintendents Pat Thomas and Cara DiMeo traveled to Atlantic City Oct. 24 to pick up the school's new certification plaque (left), which they held alongside Sustainable Jersey Executive Director Randall Solomon (far left) and Board President Gary Sondermeyer (far right). Story below. 

First District School to be Bronze Certified

sustainable jersey for schools certified high school north

Oct. 26, 2023-- High School North has achieved bronze-level certification through Sustainable Jersey for Schools, becoming the first district school to do so. As leading examples of sustainability excellence, the certified schools-- there are now 337 across New Jersey-- provide outstanding learning opportunities for their students and join an established cohort of recognized schools across the state.

"This is a testament to not only our school's efforts to be sustainable, green, efficient, and environmentally friendly," said High School North Principal Ed Keller, "but to our staff's genuine commitment to achieve this mark of distinction. We're proud and excited to be a Sustainable Jersey-certified school."

Those staff members include High School North teachers Jennifer Huey and Leslie Withstandley, as well as district staff members Tiffany Lucey and Mike Kenny. Crucial to the certification process was former High School North teacher Kyle Seiverd, who currently works for the Grunin Center for Performing Arts.

Sustainable Jersey for Schools developed the voluntary certification program in 2014 as a roadmap for pre-kindergarten through twelfth-grade public schools to reach their fullest potential. 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. The more advanced silver-level requires a minimum of 350 points of sustainability actions.

“I commend the teachers, administrators, staff, parents and students for their commitment and vision for the future. Becoming certified with Sustainable Jersey for Schools is a significant achievement,” said Randall Solomon, executive director of Sustainable Jersey. “Certified schools play a crucial role in reducing environmental impacts, improving health and preparing students for the challenges they will face in the future. With 67 percent of New Jersey public school districts participating and over 300 certified schools, there’s an incredible opportunity and potential for change."

HSN has taken huge steps toward sustainability in recent years, often through funding provide by Sustainable Jersey for Schools grants (which is the purpose of that funding, to support actions that help achieve certification). These include an outdoor classroom, a courtyard featuring a butterfly garden and repurposed greenhouse, curriculum mapping, biodiversity, sustainability education, and more. 

OurSpace Courtyard photo

High School North students pose at the Sustainable Jersey for Schools-funded OurSpace Courtyard, which features seating, native plants, landscaping, a mural, a solar fountain, LED lights, games, and much more.

HSN's certification was made official in Atlantic City this week during the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) convention. Certified schools were invited to pick up their award plaques and attend the Sustainable Jersey for Schools awards ceremony and 2023 workshop. Assistant Superintendents Cara DiMeo and Pat Thomas represented the school and district for this prestigious honor, and that plaque will soon be hanging on the walls of High School North.

Portraits of Sustainability

Sustainable Jersey participating schools serve as learning labs and the certification program supports educators by identifying authentic learning opportunities for students and staff.

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. To date, 1,130 schools are participating in the program. Visit the Participating Districts and Schools webpage to see the full list of participating and certified schools and school districts. Sustainable Jersey for Schools has awarded over $3.1 million in grants to schools and school districts.