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Lenape 'going greener' this school year

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By Mitch Fryer
Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009

MANOR -- When Lenape Technical School Director Dawn Kocher-Taylor talks about a commitment to "going greener," she isn't just talking about the school's environment. She also means the academics in the school's classrooms.

The school wants to get its students to act and think green, she said.

"We've incorporated green technology through many of our programs this year," Kocher-Taylor said on the first day of school.

Green might describe the back-to-school experience at Lenape as well.

"It was an ordinary first day," Kocher-Taylor said. "A couple of kids missed their bus, a few couldn't find their locker or their homeroom. Typical."

There was a report from the mother of a student that a school bus broke down causing some students to be picked up late.

"The faculty is positive -- the kids are positive," Kocher-Taylor said. "We're ready to get off to a good start to a successful year."

"You think you like the quiet when school is out," she said. "But it's so much nicer when the kids are back and the school is busy."

As for putting the green in the academic curriculum, Kocher-Taylor said the focus is on looking at alternative energy sources and applying that to the programs of study.

Examples include: weatherization applications taught in the construction and trades programs; bio-fuel studies in science classes; and wind and solar energy in the natural resources technology program, formerly called agricultural science which incorporates topics such as landscaping and turf management.

"This gives them a broader skill set," said Kocher-Taylor. "They will be able to identify more with the high-priority occupations in the area. I think 'going greener' is very important to us and our students because it is a concept that is threaded throughout various occupations and aspects of the workforce. The more we can integrate that type of subject matter into the curriculum, the more it gives our students an edge."

Nanotechnology and robotics coursework is being expanded this year, according to Kocher-Taylor.

Math, science and electronics teacher Eric Longwell applied for and was able to receive a grant for the school through Dominion Peoples to purchase a working-model windmill. Students are working with the windmill in Longwell's class.

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