Hackensack Public Schools
Sustainable Schools Initiative

All Hackensack Public Schools are Sustainable NJ Certified!

October 19, 2021 - We are proud to announce that all Hackensack Public Schools have achieved Sustainable Jersey for Schools Bronze-level certification, with four schools also submitting for and earning Digital Schools Star Recognition (Hackensack High School, Hackensack Middle School, Fairmount School and Jackson Avenue School).

“We are proud of our commitment to sustainability and digital learning in Hackensack and thank each of the schools and their respective Green Teams for their leadership in achieving this distinguished honor, especially during these challenging times.” said Superintendent Robert Sanchez.

Hackensack High School

Hackensack Middle School

Fairmount School

Nellie K. Parker School

Fanny M. Hillers School

Jackson Avenue School

Hackensack High School

Hackensack Middle School

Fairmount School

Jackson Avenue School

Fanny M. Hillers School

About the Initiative

At its March 2021 Meeting, the Hackensack Board of Education adopted a resolution affirming the District’s participation in the Sustainable Schools NJ certification program and committing to implementing sustainable, environmentally-friendly practices and curriculum.

The Sustainable NJ for Schools program is a voluntary certification program based on the highly successful Sustainable Jersey certification program for municipalities. Sustainable Jersey for Schools provides specific guidance and resources to schools on developing comprehensive sustainability programs. Participating schools can earn points for certain actions, such as performing energy audits, establishing sustainability curriculum, and boosting recycling efforts. The program helps schools improve efficiency, cut waste and contribute to students’ education in the key areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, often referred to as “STEM education.”

In December 2020, a slate of Digital Schools actions was added to the certification program. The new actions span a wide range of digital learning issues, including professional development plans for educators, news and media literacy for students, equitable access to digital learning, personalized learning strategies, district-wide data safety and security practices and more.

Green Teams

Each school is required to form a “green” team comprised of various stakeholders, that include administration, teachers, students, parents and could also include maintenance and food services staff as well as community organizations. The Green team will assist with planning and implementing the school’s sustainability goals. Some examples of focus areas, to name a few, are school gardens, outdoor classroom spaces and recycling programs. Members of each team will also be a part of the District-level Green team..


What is Sustainability?

Working to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

This is the most commonly used definition of sustainability, coined in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development, also known as the Brundtland Commission.

Ultimately, the goal of sustainability increases the investment of citizens—including students—in their communities as they work towards creating their desired future.

Why is it important?

Sustainable development has been a characteristic of many communities around the world and across history. But in many places we have also seen the adoption or development of increasingly wasteful habits of consumption, unjust social and political situations, and economic systems that do not adequately account for social well-being or the earth on which we all depend. The challenge of society, and particularly for us as educators, is to help individuals and groups learn to make decisions based on understanding:

  • the natural and human communities in which we live;

  • that we are all interconnected and depend on each other; and

  • that we have the ability to make meaningful contributions and change.


Districts and schools participating in Sustainable Jersey for Schools complete actions to achieve points towards two levels of certification for schools: Bronze and Silver. The requirements for each are listed below. Districts do not get certified, but can participate in the application process to help their schools achieve certification.

Bronze certification means a school has made a commitment to sustainability and has succeeded in implementing significant first steps, while silver certification means a school has made significant progress in a number of categories toward sustainability and is a statewide and national leader.

Bronze Certification Requirements

  • Establishment of mandatory green team

  • Implement 2 of 14 priority actions

  • Complete actions in 6 of 22 categories

  • Total of at least 150 points

Silver Certification Requirements

  • Establishment of mandatory green team

  • Implement 3 of 14 priority actions

  • Complete actions in 8 of 22 categories

  • Total of at least 350 points