Unity Charter School is a tuition-free, public school in Morris Township that offers a unique approach to education for students from Kindergarten to 8th Grade throughout New Jersey.
The mission of Unity Charter School is “to teach the importance of protecting and improving the environment by educating our students on the principles of sustainability, ecology, and diversity in a way that celebrates and honors this planet and all its inhabitants.”
Focus on Sustainability
Sustainability is the primary focus of Unity Charter School. Sustainability is defined as meeting the needs of the present while enhancing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The curriculum is explored through the lens of sustainability. Experiential learning and inquiry allow students to understand the impact of human endeavors on the environment and its inhabitants. Students work outside on the garden, for example, and this helps them learn where their food comes from.
Unity serves approximately 180 students in multi-age learning groups. The students are encouraged to actively participate in setting goals and assessing progress for their personal academic achievement in meeting the New Jersey Core Curriculum requirements. Unity strives to make its learning environment caring, interactive and personally challenging to promote academic success.
Unity’s lunch program is also focused on sustainability. The school lunch program is vegetarian, because eating lower down on the food chain has a reduced environmental impact. Some organic and local products are used, and vegan and gluten-free meals are also offered. Students eat at tables covered with tablecloths, use cloth napkins and real silverware, and eat off of ceramic dinner plates.
Unity is actively engaged in the “Positive Discipline” program, which focuses on the importance of belonging and significance, respect for all people, encouragement, strategies for reducing misbehavior, and the development of problem solving and communication skills for students and staff. The ultimate goal of the solution-focused program is to engage the entire school community; administrators, teachers, students, and parents; in creating a strong foundation for the social and emotional development of the child.
Unity’s founders believed that strong “social and emotional skills are necessary for students to attain high academic achievement” and therefore included this in the charter.
Founded in 1998, Unity was among the second cohort of schools in New Jersey to be granted a charter. Unity was located on Speedwell Avenue in Morristown until 2010, when the school relocated to the current, larger facility at One Evergreen Place. The current facility is 20,000 SF, and has nine classrooms, a Science room, an Art/Music room, a Media Center/Library, a large multi-purpose room, a full commercial kitchen, and a playground.