NJ Green Program of Study (POS) Team Pushes Toward Curriculum Completion
A cross-functional team has made a tremendous amount of progress toward completing a Program of Study (POS) in Green Construction, Sustainable Design and Energy. New Jersey was one of four states selected by the US Department of Education to participate in this educational endeavor.
Since December the group — comprised of pilot district teachers, postsecondary instructors and industry partners, has been working diligently to complete curriculum, develop an articulation agreement with postsecondary schools, identify technical skills assessments and appropriate teaching skills and credentials.
“I commend the group for their efforts to complete the goals laid-out three years ago when we were awarded the grant,” said Judy Savage, executive director of the New Jersey Council of County Vocational – Technical Schools. “The finish-line is in sight. If we remain on track, I’m confident we’ll get what we need done by the end of the year.”
The grant year started with a Green Construction Pathway Advisory Meeting that had been postponed due to Hurricane Sandy. During the session the group identified content for grades 11and 12 curriculum that would meet the needs of employers and schools and established a process to complete eight course modules. During a subsequent meeting at Middlesex County Vocational – Technical School the teachers and college and industry partners identified the specific module content, reviewed standards and formalized an approach that would insure consistency in the curriculum. The group’s work is currently in the process of being reviewed and finalized.
Victoria Waters, Executive Director of the Green Education Foundation (GEF), travelled to NJ to participate in the meeting. She met with instructors who are using the GEF Green Building Course with their 10th grade students to increase their familiarity and comfort with the online platform and resources available to them and their students.
In April the Sustainable Design Pathway Group continued working with NJIT to put together a plan to complete the Grade 12 Sustainable Design curriculum. The group also discussed the types of projects and training teachers would need to teach the course. The grant’s NJIT partners agreed to provide two-days of professional development in late June for CAD and design teachers interested in using the Grade 10-11 Sustainable Design Curriculum. Teachers will also continue to have the opportunity to take the LEED Green Associate Class and earn their certification at no cost through the USGBC-NJ. This training was also offered to teachers last year during professional development week.
In late April, two important meetings were held to finalize and further enhance work that already had been done by the teachers on the Sustainability and Energy curricula. During the first session participants examined the feasibility of offering an Introduction to Sustainability dual credit college level course as a senior year capstone experience for students participating in all three pathways of the Green Program Study – Sustainable Design, Green Construction and Energy. This course will be based on similar courses offered by Richard Stockton College (Environmental Sustainability) and Burlington County College (SST 100 Principles of Sustainability) that would be accepted by both institutions for dual credit. Stockton Professor Patrick Hossay agreed to host a day-long workshop in August to familiarize teachers with the content of the college course and identify strategies and resources for teaching the curriculum in the high school environment.
Later that day the Energy Pathway Advisory Group met to review the grade 10 – 11 energy curriculum, develop a plan for completing grade 12 content and a dual credit agreement for Alternative Energy 111 and Intro to Sustainability. The discussion identified gaps in the Grade 11 energy curriculum that will be addressed so that the Grade 11 assessment can be aligned with the college assessment for BCC’s Alternative Energy 111 and the similar course offered by Mercer County Community College. The group also identified the approach for a grade 12 course that will center on a project-based capstone project to be driven by the districts and that will enable students to demonstrate and apply the knowledge gained in grades 9-11 to an area of specific interest. The group also reviewed a Center for Energy and Workforce Development (CEWD) credentialing and certification process that would provide students in the pilot districts with the ability to earn CEWD’s Energy Industry Fundamental Certificate.
Teachers are continuing to enhance their knowledge and understanding of sustainability and how to infuse these concepts into their classes by enrolling in two online courses offered by the Green Education Foundation – K-12 Sustainability Teaching Strategies and a Sustainability Fellow Certificate Program. The Sustainability Fellow Certificate program is well aligned with the courses offered by Stockton and BCC, and the certificate will be required of all teachers who want to deliver the college-level Intro to Sustainability course in 2014.