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Sustainable Jersey for Schools March 21 grants luncheon

From left to right, NJEA Field Representative Mike Rollins; TREA President Scott Campbell; High School East teacher Lynn Cutini; TRRS Supervisor Tiffany Lucey; and Sustainable Jersey for Schools Executive Director Randy Solomon celebrate HSE's $10k NJEA-funded grant award a luncheon March 21.

March 27, 2024-- A $10,000 grant from Sustainable Jersey for Schools, from its annual cycle funded by the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), will have High School East students "Looking Outside and Inside."

The inclusive project brings together virtual reality and an outdoor learning lab. STEAM Engineering Academy students will design spaces and experiences with the school's multiply disabled students. Using technology like AutoCAD and Unity, students will collaborate on designing the space through virtual reality before bringing it to life in actual reality.

“The ‘Looking Outside and Inside’ project is so special to us because it helps define who we are as a school, through the ingenuity of our STEAM Academy students and the inclusivity it fosters with the involvement of, and focus on, our special needs population,” said High School East Principal Erin Anders. “We are grateful to Sustainable Jersey for Schools and the NJEA for honoring that vision with a grant award to help make this project happen.”

Through the "Looking Outside and Inside" project, East's existing garden and open space will be made accessible with walkways and additional routes for wheelchairs in the outdoor learning lab. New benches will be designed and installed by students learning construction within the Youth Career Pathways grant-funded programs at High School South (Project SPEAR-IT) and High School North (NorthSTAR).

This project and all those selected by Sustainable Jersey for Schools were made possible by the NJEA.

“Our investment and partnership with Sustainable Jersey for Schools is a testament to our commitment to support a sustainable future for our students across the state,” said New Jersey Education Association President Sean M. Spiller. “We are so proud to be part of a program that directs resources right into our classrooms and communities. Our children have inherited an environment that is fraught with problems, from climate change, and plastic and trash clogging rivers and oceans, to the extinction of many species. Our generation must do everything we can to emphasize the value of sustainability and healthy practices. Ultimately, we want our children to become engaged citizens and leaders in sustainability.”

Leading the project at HSE will be Supervisor Tiffany Lucey, who developed and submitted the application, and teachers Rachel Barry and Lynn Cutini, all of whom joined TREA President Scott Campbell at a grants luncheon celebrating the award March 21 at the College of New Jersey.

"Congratulations grant recipients. We hope this funding is transformational to your sustainability programs and creates a ripple effect of awareness across your community. Thank you, NJEA for providing the crucial financial support needed to make these projects possible,” said Sustainable Jersey Executive Director Randall Solomon.

An independent Blue-Ribbon Selection Committee judged the proposals.

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