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Energy education initiatives coming to classroom near you

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

The Atlanta-based Southern Company subsidiary, Georgia Power, is embarking on an initiative to better educate youths on the energy industry.

Georgia Power President and CEO Paul Bowers announced, Monday, the statewide program to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of using energy "wisely and efficiently."

"This initiative is a key component of our energy-education efforts across the state of Georgia," said Bowers. "This program will focus on developing classroom experiences for children that highlight the crucial role energy plays in our daily lives."

Georgia Power plans to collaborate with the State Board of Education, educators and stakeholders as it develops and deploys its curriculum, according to Georgia Power Spokeswoman Carol Boatright.

Boatright said activities will be designed to teach specific curricular principles relating to energy efficiency that have been integrated in the required learning objectives, which will be part of the national science "common core" standards, and congruent with Common Core Georgia Performance Standards.

"I think it's going to allow us to bring an emphasis on the importance of energy to the students and make them more aware of production and the importance of energy conservation," said Boatright.

The spokeswoman said the initiative figures on developing young people's sensibilities in energy stewardship and efficiency, while giving them a foundation on how energy is generated, and improved upon technologically.

Boatright said she anticipates the program will be ongoing, providing dual benefits in helping create a more energy-literate generation and developing new candidates who make energy a career path for themselves.

Georgia Power plans to place nearly a dozen education coordinators -- newly hired educators with practical experience in the energy industry -- in schools around the state this fall.

Officials said the "energy educators" will focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects in Georgia schools. Their job will be to target third-, fifth- and eighth-grade programs, to deliver energy efficiency messages through "in-class field trips," using hands-on activities, web-based learning, and educational/career awareness events.

The program also will be piloted to high school students by invitation and on a limited basis.

"I am excited about this new Georgia Power initiative and encouraged that the company's resources will help build a strong foundation that will positively benefit our students, teachers and communities," said State School Superintendent John Barge, in a written statement.

"I am committed to supporting Georgia Power's efforts as they work directly with educators in our local districts."