During Summer Break, Florida Teachers Trekked to the Rocky Mountains for Unique, Hands-On Professional Development

Sep 1, 2017 12:10 PM ET

Since 1976, Keystone Science School (KSS), nestled in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, has taught scientific principles and leadership skills to young people, teachers, and community members through engaging hands-on field experiences.  Because today's youth are our future leaders, KSS developed interactive science education programs that help students become familiar with scientific and critical thinking skills and encourage them to be engaged citizens.

The Duke Energy Foundation has invested in KSS for 20 years totaling more than $520,000. Thanks to the partnership and support of the Duke Energy Foundation, KSS has been able to bring environmental issues and a passion for learning into classrooms across our service territories. In the last 20 years, Duke Energy Foundation has sponsored 116 teachers to attend Key Issues, and in turn those teachers have reached more than 15,000 students. In 2017, 14 Florida teachers attended the training.

During the week-long professional development program, teachers explore local environmental issues both outside and inside the classroom. Key Issues provides teachers with best practices on how to engage students in interactive, hands-on activities that make science come to life through meaningful learning experiences. This program inspires scientific inquiry, leadership development, and civic engagement, thereby motivating students to be active members of the community. The Key Issues framework, an interdisciplinary curriculum set that brings the process of inquiry to the study of environmental issues, is designed to promote a collaborative approach to scientific investigation and problem solving. One of the most important outcomes of Key Issues Institute is to increase teachers’ confidence in teaching science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, concepts and to introduce environmental issues in the classroom.