Green Valley High School adds green curriculum to science class

Green Valley High School got a little greener this school year. Students are learning about renewable, or green, energy through supplemental curriculum, and they are being introduced to career opportunities in the field.

The fastest-growing segment of the electrical power industry is renewable energy, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The anticipated retirement of millions of baby boomers in the next 10 years also is expected to reduce the supply of domestic utility workers.

Nevada received a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor meant to develop the state's workforce, present and future, for green career opportunities.

Jamie Cruz, Workforce Connection's director of green economy workforce development, collaborated with Green Valley High School, 460 Arroyo Grande Blvd., providing books and other classroom materials.

Workforce Connections is Southern Nevada's local workforce investment board, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Green Valley was the first high school to partner with Workforce Connections, but Cruz said 10 more high schools will be implementing the program this school year, and 12 more are in negotiations with his office.

Green Valley science teacher Melissa Cook said she and her colleagues are supplementing an existing chapter on carbon emissions and their environmental impact with the What It Means to be Green curriculum.

"It's just something new to learn, but this stuff is really easy to understand," Cook said. "As teachers, we've been looking at ways to enhance it and make it exciting for the students so they get an authentic experience out of it, something that's meaningful in the end."

The curriculum is integrated into a freshman-level Principles of Science class taught by five teachers. Cook said the What It Means to Be Green program adds about two weeks worth of material that have to be integrated into existing lessons.

Students will get hands-on experience with green energy when Workforce Connections brings its Monster Truck ---- a recycled airport food service truck ---- to campus this semester.

The truck has been outfitted with solar panels and transformed into a mobile lab full of renewable energy systems.

Gov. Brian Sandoval released his State Economic Development Plan this month, calling for 50,000 new jobs by the end of 2014. The report highlighted seven economic sectors, including green energy, where Nevada should focus its efforts.

"This is supporting the state's effort on job creation," Cruz said. "It's preparing students for those opportunities of tomorrow. It's not just a shot in the dark; it's based on the state's economic plan."

For more information about Workforce Connections, visit nvworkforce

Contact View education reporter Jeff Mosier at or 224-5524.