The Portland Public Schools PGE Solar Roofs Partnership STEAM Education project is a large effort over several years with a variety of partners in both energy and education sectors to expand solar production and augment STEM/STEAM education. In 2015, the Portland General Electric Renewable Development Fund, comprised of contributions from PGE Renewable Power customers, in partnership with Portland Public Schools and Energy Trust of Oregon, installed over 1.2 MW of solar on the rooftops of six schools including a 216.9 kW solar array (see live system performance data) installed on James John Elementary School. The Renewable Development Fund also supported providing BEF's CE program (formerly called Solar 4R Schools) services for educators at James John Elementary School and across the District to expand renewable energy-related STEM professional development opportunities, along with durable science kits for the District's Multimedia Library, focused classroom activities and lesson plans to engage students in cutting edge renewable energy science and technology and information about careers in renewable energy.
Educational efforts began in Year 1 with the CE Team providing three "Renewable Energy 101" teacher professional development trainings during the winter of 2016 for 46 educators across 25 schools and 3 partner educational organizations for a total of 4,806 students reached. BEF also managed development of TIGO Energy Automated Programming Interface (API) to display solar production data on solar4rschools.org and configured the interactive kiosk displays for all six PPS Solar Roofs schools. In 2017, Solar Oregon provided in-classroom presentations by industry professionals for 602 additional PPS students to share information about potential career opportunities in renewable energy.
Developing engaging, accurate, and NGSS aligned STEAM curriculum for all Portland Public School 4th Grade classrooms was a major component in Year Two of the PGE Solar Roofs Partnership. The District's choice to undertake this endeavor was determined after extensive discussions with the team at the end of Year One. District science leadership wanted to maximize effectiveness and student impact by working on a lasting, strategic curriculum development effort aimed at reaching all 148 4th grade teachers and 4,000 4th grade students District-wide.
The Third/Final year of the PPS Solar Roofs STEAM Education project includes: A) the final testing and roll-out of the 4th Grade energy curriculum development completed in Year 2, B) training all 148 PPS 4th grade educators in how implement this in their classrooms district wide, and C) developing a follow-up unit focusing on Waves and Motion with connections to communications and marine renewable energy. The completed PPS Energy Unit Overview is viewable here, but you will need to request permission from the District to utilize the embedded links. Waves and Motion is an entirely new topic area for Elementary, Middle, and High School science as required by Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Thus, it has become the focus for curriculum development in the final phase of the project. Teachers will meet eight times over the 2018-19 school year to conduct field testing and complete another new formalized unit to be rolled out in 2020.