Dept of Education Provided $650,000 Grant for Promoting K-12 Climate Change Education
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Stockton University recently secured a $650,000 state grant from the Department of Education, marking it as the sole higher education institution in southern New Jersey to receive such funding aimed at enhancing climate change education in K-12 schools.

The grant, part of an initiative spearheaded by First Lady Tammy Murphy, supports New Jersey’s pioneering efforts to integrate comprehensive climate change instruction across various academic disciplines including science, social studies, world languages, and the arts. New Jersey led the nation in this endeavor starting in 2020.

“Our state’s climate change education standards are leading the nation and are crucial for preparing New Jersey’s students to become informed leaders in addressing environmental challenges,” Murphy remarked. “These grants will uphold the highest academic standards for climate change education and provide educators with the support they need to develop innovative lessons.”

Stockton University will use the grant to establish the Climate Change Learning Collaborative (CCLC) through its Southern Regional Institute and Educational Technology Training Center (SRI & ETTC). Faculty and staff from Stockton’s School of Education, School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and School of Arts and Humanities will collaborate to create robust lesson plans and hands-on learning opportunities for K-12 students.

Patty Weeks, director of SRI & ETTC and co-director of the initiative, highlighted Stockton’s advantageous position with campuses near the Atlantic Ocean and within the Pinelands National Reserve, underscoring its long-standing commitment to environmental education leadership.

“We will leverage this foundation to empower K-12 educators in developing and implementing project-based learning units focused on understanding the causes, effects, and responses to climate change,” Weeks explained.

Kimberly Lebak, professor of Education and co-director of CCLC, has developed a program aimed at equipping educators with deep content knowledge on climate change, particularly its local impacts on South Jersey communities. Experiential learning opportunities in collaboration with community organizations such as The Wetlands Institute, Save Barnegat Bay, NJ Audubon, the Center for Aquatic Sciences, and Sustainable NJ will integrate hands-on experiences with climate change curriculum.

“Educators will engage in immersive learning experiences that they can directly apply in their classrooms,” Lebak affirmed.

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