PHOENIX (AP) - Kevin English, a building-trades teacher at Raymond S. Kellis High School in Glendale, was up front with
his students about the state of the construction industry.
He told us the first day we got into his classroom that the construction industry is way down and not going up anytime
soon," said Eric Villezcas, 17, a senior.
But there was hope for Villezcas and his classmates.
English is integrating alternative-energy projects to help his students prepare for an emerging renewable-energy
Construction jobs are going away, but there is a growing need for solar panels on homes," English said.
Unlike the building-trades curriculum he has taught for several years, renewable-energy curriculum for high schools was
There was nothing out there, so I have been doing a lot of curriculum writing," English said. There's no use in
learning about it when you don't have a way to practice it."
Now, his students are learning about all forms of alternative energy, from wind turbines to solar panels, in a
curriculum he still is writing and developing. Recently, his class installed solar panels and wired up lights on a
miniature house station.
Beyond developing curriculum, English is helping other teachers across the country with similar challenges by starting
the Green Clubs of America.
Already there are plans for competitions, scholarships and leadership conferences. The organization even has a Web
site, with brief information on the first Green Clubs of America National Conference, to be held in Arizona in
Besides the Peoria Unified School District group, the club so far also has chapters in the Dysart Unified School
District and in North Carolina and Ohio.
It's really been a grass-roots effort," English said. People are hearing about the club just by word of mouth."
Helping him manage and market the organization is Deb Moore, the marketing teacher at Kellis High.
Together, they have developed plans for putting solar panels on top of the student store and a school Green Fair
scheduled for April. English received a $15,000 grant from the Earth Day Network to help fund the solar-panel
They expect to have the solar panels finished by April and to unveil the project during the Green Fair.