The Best Kind of Summer School


Many people may think that summer vacation for teachers is just that, a vacation. While it may be true that we get to trade in our laptops for lounge chairs, some of us choose to use this time for recharging our lessons and attending professional development sessions.

I have attended many such workshops and classes in my years, but none can compare to the experience I just had at Keystone Science School in Keystone, Colorado thanks to the generous support of the Alcoa Foundation.

The week-long training, called Key Issues Institute, focused on environmental issues and how we as teachers can present the issues in nonbiased ways. While the lessons and information were well created and planned out, the truly magical aspect of this trip came from the real-world, hands-on experiences.

Groups ventured out to areas along the French Creek to analyze the water quality with tests such as pH, velocity, oxygen levels, and aquatic organisms.

We engineered trams while focusing on ways to optimize the 3E’s – [social] Equity, Economic opportunity, and Environmental sustainability. 

The lessons and activities presented all had an interdisciplinary component that made them applicable to teachers of various subjects. STEM concepts were presented and applied throughout the week.

Our week of learning came to an end too fast, but we all took with us the excitement and passion of 30 new friends and resources from all over the world. We are all so grateful for the sponsorship from Alcoa Foundation that brought all of us together and made this incredible experience possible!