100% of Schools in Newark and Camden Receive Sustainability Certification

GGI sends congratulations to all schools within our NJ partner districts –  Camden City and Newark –  for becoming Sustainable Jersey for Schools certified!

That’s right, 100% of schools in these two districts completed sustainability actions to achieve certification.

The Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification process is,

“a free, voluntary, and prestigious designation to help schools and districts pursue a balanced sustainability program one policy, program, or resource audit at a time.” 

For certification, Sustainable Jersey for Schools requires the establishment of a green team to oversee and coordinate the process, and must attain a certain number of points from actions identified as priority actions.

Staff and student practicing Newark’s, “Safe Return Plan,” to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

These priority actions include:

  • green cleaning & indoor air quality
  • renewable energy
  • energy efficiency
  • food and nutrition
  • student and staff wellness

and much more!


The goal of SJS is to provide an all-around healthy learning environment, for both students and staff. A school’s certification status lasts for 3 program years, and schools can apply to be reevaluated after certifications expire.


One of the projects both districts worked on was building school gardens. These gardens provide fresh, healthy food to students, and can be used for educational purposes to teach students about sustainability.

“As GGI knows all too well, access to high quality food supply is so important for our schools. It is great to see our districts expanding that to school gardens and lessons with their kids on local food.” – Wayles Wilson, GGI Client Manager supporting Camden

FoodCorps service members leading an interactive fourth grade class at Davis Family School (Camden) in the outdoor garden.


In the Camden City School District, all schools received bronze SJS certifications, and some schools became certified for the second time! If you would like to read more about Camden’s process of certification, read our recent blog, Camden City School District: the Journey to Sustainability with GGI.


As for the the Newark Board of Education, this wasn’t the district’s first time applying for certification for every school. Nonetheless, this was no easy task, being the largest school district in the state of New Jersey, representing 66 schools.


Not only did all schools become certified again, three went above and beyond. All Schools within the Newark school district received bronze SJS certifications, while First Ave., Salome Urena, and Thirteenth Ave. received second-tier silver certifications!


The Newark Board of Education prioritized energy efficiency, food and nutrition, and green cleaning in their efforts to become certified and go green. 

Rodney featured by Sustainable Jersey (via Facebook)

One of their most important projects was creating a district wide green team. Rodney Williams, Director of Energy and Sustainability at Newark Board of Education, is responsible for the development of the district’s green management plan.

“My job deals with any programs out there that will help us in world sustainability. One of the key focuses is to manage utility bills… electric, and gas, and water. My job is to help the district to navigate through any programs and any behavior to modify what we do to save on spendings.”

To hear more from Rodney Williams, listen to this episode on the Go Green Radio Podcast.

GGI is impressed by all our schools in the Camden and Newark Districts. Your handwork and determination to go green has not gone unnoticed, and we are so proud of your achievements!

Through working with the Go Green Initiative, these districts received project management and action implementation support toward certification. Thank you to our donors, especially Covanta. Without your financial support, the Go Green Initiative would not have been able to support Camden and Newark toward this impressive milestone.

Interested in more about the work GGI did with these districts? Check out the Green Team Annual Report from Camden.