Guest Author: Lisa Herrmann, science writer, Arizona SciTech
Formed originally in 1903, SRP was one of Arizona’s earliest STEM industry leaders, and since that time, it has continued to support citizen understandings of the water/power nexus so unique to our state. SRP has demonstrated a deep commitment to STEM education in Arizona through a breadth of corporate contributions over the years, such as with its Silver Level sponsorship of the Arizona SciTech Festival and multiple avenues of investment in the state’s teachers and classrooms. SRP utilizes its expertise and human resources through in-kind services and volunteer assistance and also funds scholarships, teacher grants, and a variety of educational support programs.
Kevin Rolfe, SRP’s Community Outreach Education Representative, recognizes the challenges of today’s classroom teacher, and explains that their program offerings are a way of supporting teachers and their critical work. SRP funds some aspects of teaching programs at the three state universities, but Rolfe’s main emphasis is providing trainings and resources for in-service K-12 teachers. ‘We offer 24-26 free workshops each year, generally for 4 hours on a Saturday. These teachers receive the training and hands-on materials they can take back and directly apply in the classrooms.’ With some workshop programs, SRP also includes mini-grants for purchasing additional materials. Not surprisingly, workshop topics include electricity and water education, but many also have a sustainability focus. ‘Our workshop on solar energy discusses the challenges with this energy source, but also the advancements’, Rolfe describes. Four day workshops for teachers offered during the summer have included topics of energy, land use impacts, and climate change.
Free teacher training, free teacher resources, including full classroom sets, and grants for classroom needs are all available by connecting with SRP online: www.srpnet.com/education.