Chas. Co. BoE Asks Duke University to Help System Go Green - Southern Maryland Headline News

Chas. Co. BoE Asks Duke University to Help System Go Green

LA PLATA, Md. (February 25, 2011) — Superintendent James E. Richmond wants to create a green curriculum for Charles County Public Schools (CCPS), and he is turning to Duke University for help. The Superintendent recently met with William L. Chameides, dean of environmental studies and policy at Duke’s Nicholas School. The two, along with staff, met during a daylong meeting last month that included a tour of North Point High School and a Telepresence demonstration. The day ended with frank discussion about future partnership possibilities that would enhance green education for both CCPS and Duke students.

The meeting was a follow up to an August visit by Richmond and staff to North Carolina University to investigate uses for Telepresence, which is highly technical video conferencing equipment. While there, Chameides expressed strong interest in the development of St. Charles High School and the environmental study opportunities it presents.

St. Charles High School is located in the center of a planned, 11,000-home green community that is touted to be the largest green city in the nation. The high school, which is designed as a gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building, uses green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. The 100-acre campus makes use of natural land and water and contains a four-story wing to reduce its carbon footprint. Plans are to cover the parking lot with solar panels and use rainwater collected in two 94,000-gallon underground water tanks to irrigate athletic fields. It also has 28,000 square feet of green roof and plans for geothermal heating and cooling as well as high use of daylight.

“Environmental study – or green education – is the future of this country. Our lives depend on it. We need Duke’s expertise,” Richmond told the Duke delegation. He said he is hoping for help developing the emerging green curriculum. “You need us, and we need you. Your students are the beginning of the environmental solution,” Chameides said.

Duke’s Nicholas School, which focuses on the study of environmental science and policy, has an academic mission similar to what Richmond would like for Charles County Public Schools. The school offers environmental education that combines classroom academics with an emphasis on practical, skills-based instruction. Richmond wants an environmental program for all students, and feels the building of the new high school and addition of Telepresence makes this the perfect time to partner with Duke. The school system is already working with the developers of St. Charles to provide hands-on experiences for high school students.

“We need to focus on one or two things we can do like programs that cater to the future and the environment. Our students need to be academically prepared. Environmental studies are new territory for us, and the real challenge comes in making it work. That’s where Duke can help us,” Richmond said.

The two groups of educators are now working to define the partnership. Possibilities include having CCPS students attend summer environmental studies at Duke and having Duke students serve hands-on internships with the St. Charles green development. Additionally, CCPS students may have the opportunity to participate in a Duke marine and aquatic life program in Delaware.

Source: Charles County Public School System

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