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June 22, 2011

Alcoa Foundation Announces 14th Class of Teacher Scholars

Teachers will learn how to involve their students in studying environmental topics at The Keystone Institute in Colorado

NEW YORK--Ever wonder what teachers do when their students are on summer vacation? For the 14th year, Alcoa Foundation is sponsoring 30 teachers from 15 of its communities across the country to attend the nationally accredited, teacher professional development Key Issues Institute in Silverthorne, Colo., through a partnership with The Keystone Center.

The Foundation has doubled the number of participants this year, enabling 15 more teachers to spend one week of their summer break studying environmental issues in an outdoor classroom. The Institute will be held in three, one-week sessions from June 21 to July 31. Since 1997, Alcoa Foundation has sent 175 teachers from 76 U.S. Alcoa communities to the Key Issues Institute.

This year, the Alcoa communities represented include: Warrick and LaPorte, Ind.; Davenport, Iowa; Dover, N.J.; Massena, N.Y.; Cleveland, Ohio; Lancaster, Pa; Mt. Holly, S.C.; Morristown, and Knoxville, Tenn.; Houston and Wichita Falls, Texas; Hampton, Va.; and Ferndale and Wenatchee, Wash. Click here for the names of the 30 teacher scholars for 2011.

“Teachers are the key to unlocking the curiosity in students around science and the environmental,” said Paula Davis, President, Alcoa Foundation. “We’re proud to invest in their professional development and to support them in training the next generation of environmental ambassadors.”

Key Issues Institute provides middle school teachers with the skills and confidence to study the environment with their students using an interactive process. Teachers explore a local environmental topic in Colorado as an example of how they can involve their students in an investigation in their own community. This is done through classroom, lab, and field activities, as well as simulations using the Key Issues Curriculum Framework.

The interdisciplinary framework, which meets national education standards, is designed to promote a collaborative approach to scientific investigation and problem solving and build 21st century learning skills.

Webcast Planned to Learn Program Elements
This year, a live webcast of the Key Issues Institute will be held from July 27-30 for teachers and members of the general public interested in learning about the program, lessons and activities that can be implemented in the classroom. The webcast will highlight portions of the institute as teachers work through the curriculum. The webcast and schedule of events will be located at www.keystone.org/education.

“Teachers take the framework back to the classroom and involve their students to take on a local environmental issue with an unbiased, inquiry-based approach,” said Anne Love, Program Director, Key Issues Institute.

Teachers are given an opportunity to develop new professional networks, share best practices, and begin thinking through the environmental investigation they will implement with their students with support from Key Issues staff. Teachers leave Key Issues Institute with curriculum materials, lab equipment, and online support from staff and other educators. Past participants at Key Issues Institute have addressed diverse issues with their students including water and air quality, wetland degradation, waste management, and recycling.

About Alcoa Foundation
Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately US$436 million. Founded more than 50 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than US$530 million since 1952. In 2010, Alcoa Foundation contributed nearly US$20 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, focusing on promoting environmental stewardship, enabling economic and social sustainability, and preparing tomorrow’s leaders through education and learning. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa’s thousands of employee volunteers, who in 2010 gave more than 720,000 service hours. Through the company’s signature Month of Service (October) program, Alcoa employees share their energy, passion and purpose to make a difference in our communities. In 2010, a record 49 percent of Alcoans took part in nearly 1,000 Month of Service events across 24 countries, reaching 59,000 children, serving 17,000 meals, planting 16,000 trees and supporting 3,000 nonprofit organizations. For more information about Alcoa Foundation, please access www.alcoa.com/foundation.

The Keystone Center
Headquartered in Keystone, Colorado, The Keystone Center prepares leaders of today and tomorrow with the intellectual and social skills they will need to resolve society’s most challenging energy, health, environmental and resource problems. The education programs attain this goal through the application of scientific methods, the reconciliation of difference through negotiation, and the development of critical thinking and collaborative problem solving. Education programs provide direct experiences within the context of local, national and global issues. Our success is measured by the quality of our programs, the achievements and effectiveness of our students and educators and our contributions to a better society. More information at www.keystone.org.