June 25, 2012

Alcoa Foundation Celebrates 15 Years of Environmental Education with The Keystone Center

Teachers embark on week-long training in Colorado to learn new primary school science curriculums


NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Alcoa Foundation announced today that it is sponsoring 30 teachers from across the U.S. and Canada to attend the nationally accredited Key Issues Institute in Silverthorne, Colo. Through a partnership with The Keystone Center, a nonprofit organization that prepares leaders with the skills they need to resolve society’s most challenging problems, teachers who attend the program spend one week of their summer break exploring local environmental issues in an outdoor classroom.

The aim of the program is to provide teachers with best practices in how to engage students in interactive, hands-on activities that make science come to life through meaningful learning experiences that inspire scientific inquiry, leadership development, and civic engagement, thereby motivating students to be active members of the community.

In addition, teachers will use the Key Issues framework, an interdisciplinary course that brings the process of inquiry to the study of environmental issues, designed to promote a collaborative approach to scientific investigation and problem solving. For example, in a lesson called Triangle Triage, students use a life-size sustainability grid to compare the economic, environmental, and social equity elements of the decisions they make. The lesson is designed to explore the sustainability of any topic the teacher would like to analyze with students, such as the sustainability of bottled water vs. tap water, paper vs. plastic, or organic vs. conventional farming.

“For Alcoa Foundation, reaching out to the next generation of environmental ambassadors starts with programs that support teachers in engaging young minds,” said Paula Davis, President, Alcoa Foundation. “We are proud to partner with The Keystone Center for 15 years to help teachers enhance their science curriculums and prepare their students for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).”

The program will be held in three, one-week sessions from June 26 to July 29. This year, the 30 teachers come from Arkansas, Connecticut, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, and Canada. Click here for the names of the 30 teacher scholars for 2012. In an effort to expand the program, Alcoa Foundation and Keystone worked with the Environmental Education and Citizenship Program (PEEC) in Canada, enabling three Canadian teachers to participate in the program for the first time.

“Key Issues provides teachers with a non-biased framework to explore environmental issues with their students. By providing teachers with a week of training and all the lessons and materials needed for an issues investigation, we see a high rate of implementation and engagement in the classroom,” said Anne Love, Educator Programs Director, The Keystone Center.

Since 1997, Alcoa Foundation has sent 209 teachers from Alcoa communities to the Key Issues Institute. Teachers leave the Institute with curriculum materials, lab equipment, and online support from staff and other educators. Past participants 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$446 million. Founded more than 50 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than US$550 million since 1952. In 2011, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than US$20 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships, engaging its people to improve the environment and educating tomorrow’s leaders. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa’s thousands of employee volunteers who share their energy, passion and purpose to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the company’s signature Month of Service program, in 2011, a record 56 percent of Alcoa employees took part in more than 1,200 events across 24 countries, reaching 81,000 children, serving 9,000 meals, planting 34,000 trees and supporting 1,800 nonprofit organizations. More information can be found at www.alcoafoundation.com.

About 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.