$650,000 Grant to Promote K-12 Climate Change Education

teachers at the climate change learning collaborative

About 25 teachers from K-12 school districts across southern New Jersey participated in the first class offered by the Climate Change Learning Collaborative at Stockton University on June 25. The collaborative is funded by a $650,000 grant from the state Department of Education. Some of the participating districts include Pinelands Regional, Upper Township, Ocean City, Logan Township, Greater Egg Harbor Regional and Long Beach Island Consolidated. The collaborative will offer additional classes throughout the summer to meet state’s climate change education mandate.

Galloway, N.J. — Stockton University recently became the only college or university in southern New Jersey to receive a $650,000 state grant to help K-12 schools improve climate change instruction.

The grant from the state Department of Education is part of an effort spearheaded by First Lady Tammy Murphy to incorporate climate-change instruction into the classroom. 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.

“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.”

The grant will go toward the establishment of a regional Climate Change Learning Collaborative (CCLC) through Stockton’s Southern Regional Institute and Educational Technology Training Center (SRI & ETTC). 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.

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."
Patty Weeks, co-director of the Climate Change Learning Collaborative
Patty Weeks, director of the SRI & ETTC and co-director of this initiative said Stockton is perfectly situated to support the collaborative with its Atlantic City campus next to the ocean and its main campus located on 1,600 acres in the Pinelands National Reserve and its long history of leadership in environmental education.

“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.

Kimberly Lebak, professor of Education and co-director for the CCLC, has 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, NJ Audubon, the Center for Aquatic Sciences and Sustainable NJ will connect hands-on experiences with content knowledge on climate change. 

“Teachers will have the opportunity to engage in learning experiences that they will be able to use with their own students,” Lebak said.

Programming through the CCLC begins in June and is available to K-12 educators at no cost. For more information, email climatelearning@stockton.edu.

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.

-- Story by Mark Melhorn