Read about Amy’s curriculum implementation challenges:
My recent service highlight stems from a low. Throughout this service term, I have been working to implement an Alternative Fuels in Vehicles and Energy Efficiency in Transportation curriculum throughout Montana. But I have been struggling to connect with curriculum directors, principals, superintendents, and educators to implement this curriculum. I tried numerous ways to introduce the curriculum to schools to gather teacher interest in order to host teacher-training workshops. I mailed letters, sent emails, made phone calls, rinsed and repeated. I tried targeting schools in major cities and town, schools in the SMART Schools Challenge, schools in the county only, but all of my outreach efforts were to no avail. The one option that I thought would be a sure success was my application for curriculum approval in Bozeman. I applied to have the curriculum approved early in the service term, as the process took over two months, and it acted as my source of hope throughout my fruitless efforts. In my mind, once the curriculum got the Bozeman Superintendent, the Review Committee, and Curriculum Director’s stamp of approval, I would surely be able to get principals and educators interested in the curriculum and then they would be jumping at the chance to attend the workshop. I would easily exceed the number of people I would need to educate throughout the service term. I had worked all of this out in my head and was certain it was just a matter of time before it became a reality. But all of this came to a screeching halt when I found out last week that the curriculum was denied in my host site town for not framing all of the issues surrounding alternative fuels and conventional energy sources throughout the lessons. My heart sank. I feared that this year would end without even remnants of attempts to implement the curriculum. But I just wasn’t ready to forfeit. I knew I could make a few amendments to the curriculum to address the critiques and make a solid appeal to save it. I followed up with the curriculum director to gain information on the curriculum appeal process. She told me she wasn’t familiar with the details of the process and would get back to me. It seems that most people don’t continue with the approval process after they are initially denied. Most people don’t attempt to turn a “no” into a “yes”. And Dr. King, the Deputy Superintendent, confirmed my suspicion when she told me just that. She called to thank me for submitting the curriculum to be reviewed and for continuing with the process. Dr. King told me that, once certain points are ironed out, the lessons could be great additions to the Bozeman curriculum. We had a wonderful talk and are meeting this week to review the curriculum and discuss changes to make. And just like that*, the Alternative Fuels in Vehicles and Energy Efficiency in Transportation curriculum is back in the game.
*Read: after hours of personal review, rewrites, edits, additions, meetings, more revisions, more edits and another Review Committee meeting, the curriculum will be approved. Then the outreach efforts kick in again.
Amy Snelling graduated from the University of Delaware with a B.S in Environmental Science and a minor in environmental humanities. While in college she was the chair of the Delaware Environmental Institute’s Student Programs Committee and the Green Liasons, both groups worked to promote environmental awareness and sustainability issues to the campus community. Amy is serving at the Yellowstone Teton Clean Energy Coalition, where she will expand the organizations sustainability series and energy literacy curriculum.