For the second consecutive year, the Park View Middle School NEED program (National Energy Education Development) was named the Rhode Island Junior Level School of the Year, as well as Junior School of the Year at the national level.
Park View NEED coordinator Joanne Spaziano and 12 students traveled to Washington, D.C., for the NEED National Recognition Ceremonies from June 22 to 25. With subsidies from the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources, Dominion and National Grid, NEED provided registrations and travel expenses for four participants. The other attendees received financial support from the PTPV, CAT and group fundraising.
“Park View Middle School continued to exhibit the type of leadership that made it the NEED Junior School of the Year in 2011. With hot dog roasts to raise money, energy nights to engage the community and workshops that bring energy education to other Rhode Island students, Park View is a shining example of energy education in R.I.,” said Charles Hawkins, planning and outreach coordinator for the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (RIOER).
Students participated in two energy fairs throughout the school year. One was an evening event for the community that focused on saving energy and how to respect energy resources. The second fair was a teaching program for two Rhode Island schools, teaching them how to save energy, where energy comes from and how energy impacts their daily lives.
“The students worked very hard preparing for the Energy Fair, the projects on display exemplified their hard work. Of course, this event would not have taken place without Mrs. Spaziano; each year I am so impressed with her passion and enthusiasm,” said Park View Principal Joseph Rotz.
National Grid was at the school for the evening community fair to give out information to visitors on saving energy and money as well as protecting the environment from greenhouse gases. Students prepared tri-fold boards with lessons in saving energy, energy terminology and the best ways to save nonrenewable resources.
At the student energy conference, the two schools in attendance were Fishing Cove Elementary School from North Kingstown and Times Two Academy from Providence, which brought 16 grade 6 students. The students had to prove math test proficiency in order to be eligible to attend.
“This is a great opportunity for the students to give feedback to their classmates. We will be carrying the activities learned here, and through the NEED website, as we move into solar energy units,” said Jane Brell, Grade 6 elementary science teacher.
Fishing Cove Elementary School came with 12 second graders.
Spaziano, along with Sheila Hopkins and Nancy DeCosta, mixed up the visiting students with the 12 Park View students, thinking the older students would help the younger ones.
As the first activity, they participated in a game of Energy BINGO. Used as an icebreaker, the students went around the room and filled out their cards with the name of a person who had a specific piece of energy information or knowledge.
Spaziano led the group in learning specific energy chants, using hand and body motions to help the students remember the energy sources. Each group of visitors went to different energy stations for several minutes to learn about the different sources, how to harness the energy and to perform an activity about that certain type of energy.
While the Park View students were teaching the other students, Spaziano gave a NEED tutorial to the other teachers. She explained what websites to use, experiments to do at school and she gave them packets to do with their students that were similar to the stations that were being done that day.
“This is an awesome group of kids. They are all engaged and curious. I am impressed at how cooperative and well behaved everyone is,” said Hopkins.
After lunch, the students went to work “mining for coal” in Spaziano mines. The students were given chocolate chip cookies, and had to remove each chip from the cookie using toothpicks.
In April, Spaziano and the students attended the Cranston Public Schools ESL night and set up a few stations and passed out CFL light bulbs as prizes. Once all their activities were completed, they began writing their scrapbook for submission to RIOER.
“I am so extremely proud of all the NEED students. They work hard, they enjoy what we do and they are learning outside of a classroom. These kids give me more back than I could ever teach them,” Spaziano said.
The Park View NEED students were recently honored at the Cranston School Committee and City Council meetings for their outstanding achievement of receiving a ranking of top school in the nation two years in a row.
For more information about the NEED program, or to sign your school up, visit www.need.org.