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From Mary E. Spruill, Executive Director
For 35 years, the last day of school and the beginning of summer have signified the start of some of the most exciting things that happen at NEED. Summer gives us the chance to celebrate energy accomplishments from the past school year with NEED teachers and students from all over the country and to train great new NEED teachers for the start of a new NEED year. Each June, we are fortunate to welcome over 500 NEED teachers, students and their parents to the NEED Youth Awards Program and National Recognition Ceremony.
The four days of the Youth Awards Program and National Recognition Ceremony are a time of learning, celebrating and recognizing energy education and the great students and teachers that are at the heart of the NEED network all year long. The event highlights how successful NEED’s Kids Teaching Kids programming is. It’s a reminder that NEED teachers and students have been doing STEM in the classroom since before it was even an acronym and NEED students and teachers have been teaching others about energy every day for 35 years. We have an impressive history, an energetic and exciting present, and a future that is bright with the leadership of today’s NEED kids and the engagement of some of the best teachers ever to enter a classroom or to teach an afterschool program.
We are an energy organization, so it’s appropriate to think of how powerful NEED curriculum and teacher training are. Teachers and students train to use NEED in the classroom or in the extracurricular setting. They plan their energy units and think about what energy topics students most want to learn about during the year. They engage local energy companies and organizations to share knowledge, and they are powerful. NEED kids change ideas and attitudes by teaching about energy. NEED teachers provide the classroom support to help students explore, learn and form their ideas and opinions about energy. NEED students and teachers are powerful because of their knowledge and the skills they gain through NEED and other activities.
The new school year is only about six weeks away in some of our schools (“Yikes” you may say!). As teachers scramble to find the most engaging ways to meet the requirements of Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards, we’re happy to have plenty of resources to offer them. NEED is a one stop shop for all energy-related standards and a great resource for cross-curricular connections too. We are working hard to bring our teachers and students more opportunities, more energy connections, and more fun than ever before. Energy is a powerful thing and understanding it gives our students a head start in tomorrow’s energy jobs.
Stay in touch with us in the coming school year. You’ll be seeing updates from our NEED Facilitator Training (coming July 2015 in La Quinta, CA) and our NEED Energy Conference for Educators (also in July 2015), our Tri-State Energy Conference for Educators, hundreds of fall workshops, exhibits at science and STEM conferences and conventions, major energy conferences and more. We’re busy and we’re looking to find new opportunities to bring the world of energy to our teachers and students right in the classroom! It’s nerdy and it’s fun. The opportunities in energy are endless. I hope today’s NEED kids will grab the energy jobs of the future and turn all their knowledge into great energy careers. Energy is fun. Energy is power. Let’s continue to harness the power and momentum of our students, teachers, and partners for great success!
With many thanks,