Stockton receives $650K grant to help improve climate change instruction in K-12 schools

Stockton University recently received a $650,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Education aimed at helping improve climate change instruction in K-12 schools.

The grant will go toward the establishment of a regional Climate Change Learning Collaborative through Stockton’s Southern Regional Institute and Educational Technology Training Center. Stockton faculty and staff from the School of Education, the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the School of Arts and Humanities will develop high-quality lesson plans and experiential opportunities for K-12 students.

The SRI & ETTC at Stockton University is one of the premier professional development programs in the state.

Nearly 10,000 educators participate in its programs and activities each year in topics that include technology integration, core curriculum, instructional strategies, school leadership, special education and social and emotional learning.

Director of the SRI & ETTC Patty Weeks said Stockton is perfectly situated to support the collaboration with its Atlantic City campus next to the ocean and its main campus located on 1,600 acres in the Pinelands National Reserve.

“We will use this foundation to help K-12 educators learn to create, assess and teach project-based learning units of study focused upon climate change’s causes, effects and responses,” Weeks said.

The grant is part of an ongoing effort led by first lady Tammy Murphy to include more climate change instruction in schools. In 2020, New Jersey became the first state in the nation to integrate climate change across multiple teaching areas, including science, social studies, world languages and the arts.

Murphy said it’s imperative for children and the next generation of leaders to understand their environment.

“Our nation-leading climate change education standards are setting New Jersey students up for a successful future as climate literate leaders of tomorrow,” Murphy said. “These grants will ensure our state’s climate change instruction remains at the highest academic standard and that our educators are supported as they prepare new and innovative lessons. I am eager to see the creative approach each school will take to continue the successful rollout of this critical instruction across all learning standards.”

Professor of education and co-Director for the CCLC Kimberly Lebakhas designed a program that will provide K-12 educators with strong content knowledge on climate change and how climate change directly impacts South Jersey communities. Experiential learning opportunities with community-based organizations, such as the Wetlands Institute, Save Barnegat Bay, New Jersey Audubon, the Center for Aquatic Sciences and Sustainable NJ will connect hands-on experiences with content knowledge on climate change.