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The U.S. Department of Education has announced that Winslow Township Middle School is among the 2021 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees.
The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award recognizes excellence in three areas: Pillar I: Reduce environmental impact and cost; Pillar II: Improve the health and wellness of students and staff; and Pillar III: Provide environmental and sustainability education, incorporating STEM, civic skills, and green career pathways.
Winslow Township Middle School has been at the forefront of innovation and environmental protection for many years.
The Middle School established a Green Team in 2016, composed of staff from throughout the school, working together to plan and implement programs and activities to support students and staff in achieving a higher level of environmental sustainability.
Energy conservation and student and staff wellness are both important focuses within the Winslow Township Middle School.
The school is partially operated on solar power, and a participant in the NJ EmPower Schools program where students are trained to be Energy Ambassadors to help promote energy conservation throughout the school and to teach staff and students about energy saving measures.
In 2020 the school established a Student/ Staff Weight Training and Stress Reduction program and a Student Advising program was initiated to assist students with addressing issues such as stress and general well-being.
Gardening and agricultural education has also become a large focus of the Middle School’s sustainability efforts. Students and staff have established a courtyard garden, indoor hydroponic gardens, and vertical tower gardens growing a variety of herbs and vegetables year-round.
The District is in the process of constructing a large green house on the Middle School grounds to further expand the school’s gardening capabilities, and expand educational opportunities for its students.
This new building will support science, STEM, math, and other areas of study, and will allow staff to introduce many more students to the art and science of growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs, as well as topics related to healthy eating, cooking, and nutrition for overall well-being.
“We are honored to have received this recognition from the U.S. Department of Education. Environmental Education and Sustainability have been a strong focus of our school philosophy over the past several years. This has led not only to cleaner water, less energy usage, and a reduction of waste generated, but has also resulted in a stronger sense of community among our staff and students, countless learning opportunities, and an increased sense of pride in our school,” said Ms. Stella Nwanguma, Principal of the Winslow Township Middle School.
Dr. H. Major Poteat, Superintendent of the Winslow Township School District, said: “Winslow Township School District is extremely proud of the outstanding efforts of the students, staff, and administration at Winslow Township Middle School. This award will serve as motivation for each of the schools in our District to continue to strive for excellence and to seek out opportunities to enhance our students’ educational experience through environmental sustainability.”
Winslow Middle School is one of only 27 schools, three early learning centers, five districts, and five postsecondary institutions that are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.