Media Release: School sustainability recognised with awards

03 Dec 2021 11:07 AM AEST – School sustainability recognised with awards

Award winning teacher Jayne Alba and the Oxley Park Public School Garden Club

NSW public schools have shown the way with environmental and sustainability education, with individuals and schools collecting a range of awards from the Australian Association for Environmental Education NSW.
“Sustainability is incorporated in all NSW syllabuses, and we are proud to support effective environmental education programs in public schools through our Environmental Education Policy,” Secretary of the Department of Education Georgina Harrisson said.
“We are equally proud of teachers like Jayne Alba who bring this policy to life every day for the benefit of our students and creating a positive school culture.”
Jayne Alba of Oxley Park Public School was named Sustainable Schools NSW Teacher of the Year for her strong and continued leadership, bringing her school community together to achieve their sustainability goals.
The Teacher of the Year award recognises individual educators who have worked towards implementing Sustainable Schools initiatives in a NSW school. It celebrates educators who have shown excellence in embedding sustainability within their school and in the broader community in line with the values of Sustainable Schools NSW.
Since 2017, Jayne has been leading the Eco Team’s Action Plans, Waste Audits and applying for grants. She maintains all the records and evidence, aligning them to NSW Curriculum outcomes and the UN Sustainability Goals.
She has been involved in multiple pilot programs such as the NPSW Junior Rangers, Cooling the Schools, and No Bees No Future projects. She has been instrumental in her school achieving Bronze and Silver Awards as part of their Eco Schools membership, and in 2021 Oxley Park was first school in NSW to achieve a Green Flag.
“It’s so nice to be recognised for educating students about sustainability,” Jayne said.
“It’s great for the students as well as all the other staff and community who support the projects at school. Having a garden with a café gives the students both a sense of worth as well as responsibility.”
Along with Jayne, Ms Harrisson congratulated other educators and schools recognised by the Australian Association for Environmental Education NSW, including Nicole Hext from Bringelly Public School, and Aldaville and Caddies Creek Public Schools.
“These are the shining lights of environmental education and sustainability in the department, and the best examples of how our students are learning skills and knowledge to benefit their and our planet’s future,” she said.
Also recognised in the awards were: 
Nicole Hext, Bringelly Public School, Highly Commended in the Sustainable Schools NSW Teacher of the Year category. Nicole oversees the school’s EcoSchool committee with a focus on recycling and waste reduction. The EcoSchools committee allows her to oversee education of students in the areas of waste reduction and recycling, including their Return and Earn project. Nicole also manages the school garden with compost and work farms, re-establishing the school vegetable garden with a focus on student wellbeing.
Aldavilla Public School, winner of the Sustainable Schools NSW School of the Year Award. The school has adopted a holistic sustainability focus – taking action in many areas including water, waste, biodiversity, food gardens and Indigenous culture. Sustainability is integrated in their curriculum, part of their school grounds and runs through their community. Aldavilla has a positive approach to student engagement and leadership, with an active Environmental Team.
Caddies Creek Public School, highly commended in the Sustainable Schools NSW School of the Year Award, which has embedded sustainability across the curriculum with many project-based learning outcomes across a range of Key Learning Areas. Real-life projects have included making pet rocks to sell to the school community to support Native Animal recovery after the bush fires, and students have planned and implemented a project to transform an overgrown, unused place in the school into an outdoor learning space to support wellbeing. The school’s Eco Crusaders have led the way with initiatives such as No Waste Wednesday, community sustainability days and showcasing initiatives at community events.
Media contact: 0436 489 772

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