Teachers head to class at Tri-State

NEED instructor Vernon Kimball (center) works with teachers attending this week’s conference for educators hosted and sponsored by Tri-State and its members.

As part of Tri-State’s ongoing program to reach out to educators to provide information on the energy industry that they can bring back to their classrooms and incorporate into their lesson plans, the association hosted its second annual teacher training conference this week at headquarters.

The 27 registered attendees were primarily middle school and high school teachers from school districts within Tri-State’s member service territories. The three-day conference wrapped up on August 9 with closing remarks from executive vice president and general manager Ken Anderson.

For this year’s teacher training conference, Tri-State worked in partnership with the not-for-profit National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project based in Manassas, Va., to conduct the program. NEED works with energy companies, agencies and organizations to bring balanced energy programs to the nation’s schools through teacher training and development.

The intensive conference agenda, conducted by retired teacher Vernon Kimball, was intended to engage its participants and goes beyond the typical lecture with handouts. The teachers at the conference are challenged with a variety of energy problems and exercises that test their energy knowledge as well as arm them with lots of materials and ideas for bringing more energy-related curriculum into their classrooms.

Tri-State’s member system managers helped identify and recruit the middle and high school teachers who attended the conference. Thanks in part to the financial support of the association’s member systems, there is no cost to the educators who participated in the NEED conference.

Among the many subjects covered at the conference were the numerous different forms of energy (both renewable and traditional energy resources), the generation and transmission of electricity, development and uses of transportation fuels, and understanding atmospheric carbon and climate change.

Gigi Dennis (left) served as Tri-State’s coordinator for this year’s energy conference for educators.

Barbara Walz, Tri-State’s senior vice president of external relations and environmental, helped kick off the conference Aug. 7 by welcoming the group and providing a brief background on Tri-State, as well highlighting the association’s environmental role in striving to maintain an energy balance that helps ensure its members with a reliable and affordable supply of electricity.

“The NEED program does an excellent job of providing our teachers with a solid foundation on the role of the energy industry in our lives,” said Gigi Dennis, Tri-State’s senior manager of external affairs and coordinator of this year’s teacher training conference.

All teachers who attended the conference also received a free NEED science of energy kit, a class set of NEED Energy Info books, as well as access to all NEED curriculum guides and supplemental resources for use in their classrooms. The organization’s materials and programs are in use in 65,000 classrooms nationwide.

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