Hopewell Elementary School Awarded $10,000 Sustainability Grant for Vertical Gardening Initiative

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    From Left to Right: Steve Beatty (Secretary Treasurer of New Jersey Education Association), David Friedrich (Principal), Helen Corveleyn (5th Grade Science/Social Studies Teacher), Denise Menza (Director of Food Services), Dr. Thomas Smith (Superintendent of Schools), Randall Solomon (Executive Director of Sustainable Jersey)

    Sustainable Jersey for Schools and the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) announced that Hopewell Elementary School has been awarded a $10,000 Sustainable Jersey for Schools grant. Eleven $10,000 grants were distributed to fund a variety of projects including vertical aeroponic tower gardens, agricultural and sustainability curriculum, student green team capacity building, an outdoor classroom, a healthy habits program, enhanced recycling efforts and more.

    The Sustainable Jersey/NJEA grant will expand the vertical farming initiative at Hopewell Elementary School with the goal of becoming a self-sustaining farm supplying lettuce and other vegetables, herbs and edible flowers to the cafeteria. In addition, there are strong curricular ties at each grade level which supports hands-on science instruction aligned to Next Generation Science Standards.

    “Hopewell Elementary School has been a driving force behind our district-wide sustainability efforts,” said Dr. Thomas Smith, Superintendent of Schools. “The Sustainable Jersey/NJEA grant will allow us to expand the vertical gardens project that has captivated the interest of students and staff.  By bridging the gap between science and nature, virtually all of the food grown in the classroom gardens will be used in our school lunches.  Students can see the real-life connection between farming and food by seeing what is necessary to grow and produce the food we eat. This is the application of the Next Generation Science Standards at its best.”

    With this contribution NJEA has provided $750,000 to support a sustainable future for children across the state through the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program. “This is an important program that directs resources into our schools and NJEA is proud to continue to work with Sustainable Jersey,” said NJEA Vice President Sean Spiller. “It is our job to help create a new generation of engaged citizens and leaders. We help ensure that we leave a better world for our students when we emphasize the value of sustainability.” In addition to the grant funding, NJEA supports Sustainable Jersey for Schools as a program underwriter.

    “Congratulations to the grant recipients. Sustainable Jersey for Schools aims to empower schools with the funding needed to implement important sustainability actions,” said Randall Solomon, executive director for Sustainable Jersey. “We look forward to the completion of these projects and the ongoing efforts of these schools and school districts. The NJEA-funded grants allow communities to come together to improve outcomes for students, staff and the environment.”

    Proposals were judged by an independent Blue-Ribbon Selection Committee. The Sustainable Jersey for Schools grants are intended to help school districts and schools make progress toward a sustainable future in general, and specifically toward Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification.

    Congratulations to Helen Corveleyn, 5th grade science/social studies teacher and project manager, on helping to secure this grant!

    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, 290 school districts and 712 schools are participating in the program. Sustainable Jersey for Schools has awarded over $1.3 million in grants to schools and school districts. To learn more, visit www.SustainableJerseySchools.com

    About NJEA: NJEA is the state’s largest association of education professionals, representing over 200,000 elementary and secondary teachers, administrators, higher education faculty, educational support professionals, retirees, and students preparing to become teachers. To learn more, visit www.njea.org.

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