Coweta-Fayette EMC hosts award-winning teacher tour for second straight year

Pictured above – Coweta, Fayette, and Heard County Teachers visit the Town at Trilith.

From Special Reports

Coweta-Fayette EMC (CFEMC) partnered with Coweta County School System, Fayette County School System, and Heard County School System to host the 2nd Annual Alternative Energy Summer Adventure, an award-winning opportunity for local educators.

The fun and educational tour provided a four-day experience for teachers, specifically in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Held from July 11-14, the tour focused on the growing demand of alternative energy options, offering dynamic, in-person lessons with valuable insight into the future of green energy, sustainability, and innovation.

This year, the program offered two days of touring with stops at the Georgia Tech Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, BMVW Auto Sales (EV dealership), SMC3, Camp Southern Ground Commercial Solar Array, and the Town at Trilith to learn about electric vehicles, sustainability efforts, and energy efficiency, while the other two days were spent studying classroom curriculum and participating in hands-on lessons from Green Power EMC’s SPARK Energy Education Program.

“Partnerships, like this one, between industry and school systems are mutually beneficial. Our teachers learn hands-on how to better prepare our students for the workforce of the future while also allowing students to engage in interesting, real-world challenges,” said Coweta County School System Superintendent Dr. Evan Horton. “For Coweta-Fayette EMC, the benefit is the creation of a workforce pipeline. Students get to learn about the company in their classrooms and learn the skills necessary to be successful employees at Coweta-Fayette EMC. Education and industry partnerships like this one are a win-win!”

“A robust STEM education is becoming more and more important to our economy,” said Dr. Donald White, Director of STEM Education for Coweta Schools. “STEM coursework challenges students to think critically and come up with their own solutions. As a result, students who receive a quality STEM education are primed to become the next generation of innovators. The goal of CFEMC’s program is to bring dynamic STEM education resources to our teachers and their students. It allowed us to kick-start the school year with lots of excitement. CFEMC provides resources to teach the information in an engaging, interactive way, and have become a trusted resource for STEM teachers’ positions. By exposing students early, it also ensures we have a well-developed workforce to choose from in the future.”

More than 30 local educators participated in the interactive tour, including Julie Eidson, East Coweta Middle School STEM teacher, who also joined the tour in 2021. After visiting the Georgia Tech Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design on the tour last year, Eidson pursued a summer internship with Georgia Tech.

“When I participated in the tour last year, I fell in love with the green energy concepts at the Kendeda Building! I enjoyed it so much that I pursued a summer internship with Georgia Tech through the Georgia Fellowship Internship of Teachers, where I’m designing a lesson plan for my students,” said Eidson. “I can’t wait to take these lessons back to my classroom and share them with other teachers in Georgia.”

In May 2022, CFEMC was honored to receive the 2022 Edgar F. Chestnutt Award for Best Total Communication Program for its first-ever Alternative Energy Summer Adventure, held in 2021. Due to the success of the program last year, CFEMC expanded the tour this year to include teachers from schools in Fayette and Heard County, as well as Coweta County.

Educators from the following schools participated in the 2022 interactive tour, including: Arnall Middle School, Blake Bass Middle School, Bennett’s Mill Middle School, Crabapple Lane Elementary School, East Coweta High School, East Coweta Middle School, Fayette County Board of Education, Fayette County High School, Fayetteville Elementary School, Flat Rock Middle School, Heard County High School, Henderson Middle School, Liberty Tech Charter School, McIntosh High School, Rising Starr Middle School, Sandy Creek High School, Spring Hill Elementary School, Whitewater High School, and Whitewater Middle School.

According to Sarah Thompson, Flat Rock Middle School STEAM Teacher, the tour allowed her to gain new ideas and appreciate what others are doing to promote sustainability. “I teach the principles of STEAM to approximately 180 kids every 9 weeks. I loved participating in the tour because it really helped me put some relevancy to what I’m doing in the classroom,” said Thompson. “Sometimes as educators, we can get wrapped up in our own bubble. It was really inspiring to me, and I got a lot of good ideas that I hope to take back to my classroom.”

CFEMC will continue to offer the Alternative Energy Summer Adventure program to encourage educators to learn about the importance and growing demand of alternative energy options.

“The 2022 Alternative Energy Summer Adventure Tour is a great program that many will choose to model. There are many benefits for the teachers, CFEMC, and ultimately the students,” said Chris Stephens, CFEMC President and CEO.

Coweta, Fayette, and Heard County teachers participate in the 2nd Annual Alternative Energy Summer Adventure.

Teachers from Coweta, Fayette and Heard County Schools at the Mercedes Benz Stadium.

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