(from Beacon Heights Elementary School) - Today, Kennecott Utah Copper announced that Beacon Heights Elementary School in Salt Lake City won the 2012 Sustainable Development community video contest. The school was awarded $5,000 for the teacher-created video, Science Plants the Seeds. The money will supplement the school’s science program, Sci-X, and create core-based science lesson plans accessible to Utah elementary educators.
The contest showcased 12 of Kennecott Utah Copper’s community partners’ efforts to promote sustainability within their organizations. Videos were submitted for public viewing and voting. Beacon Heights PTA President, Kristen Okland, rallied a community effort and gathered more than 10,000 votes from Beacon supporters living coast-to-coast and overseas.
Beacon Heights teacher and volunteer, Emily Mortensen, and parent volunteer, Chris Cochella, created the “Sci-X” program with the hope of providing monthly hands-on science experiences augmenting classroom instruction.
In 2011, Kennecott partnered with Sci-X program to create a web-based, hands-on science curriculum accessible via the Utah Education Network for all Utah elementary science teachers. Collaboration with Ruth Li, Science Specialist at Indian Hills Elementary and Beacon Heights’ Science Specialist, Deirdre Straight, provided classroom application and lesson “test runs.” Beacon Heights Media Specialist, Timothy Rausch, created the project’s website.
“No science text book exists for Utah elementary classrooms. Utah’s youngest students deserve consistent, experiential science education. We can’t expect a child to feel confident in science in junior high and high school if not provided with consistent science education in early years. So, we hope elementary teachers all over Utah will look at the lessons on the site and feel confident in their ability to offer engaging science instruction in their own classroom,” said Emily Mortensen.
Parent volunteer, Chris Cochella, said, “I started Sci-X hands-on science because kids learn and get excited by doing. Science for children can only take hold by doing it hands-on. This fact has been reinforced by kids’ questions, answers and comments, such as, "I am going to be a scientist," as though they just had their first piece of candy."
Beacon Heights Principal, Rae Louie, said, “Kennecott has enabled the teachers to support each other in building depth and complexity to science instruction. I am so very grateful to Kennecott for giving us an opportunity to improve our science environment for children. Without their support to get the program to Utah educators, the work we have done this year would probably have taken much longer to accomplish, or in some instances, would have never happened. They have not only provided the financial support to give the tangible needs, but also restored the confidence and excitement for teachers about what science can be.”
“Kennecott applauds the work of Beacon Heights Elementary and their participation in our sustainable development contest,” said Rohan McGowan-Jackson, Vice President of Sustainable Development, Kennecott Utah Copper. “Beacon Heights demonstrates the community leadership we foster in our corporate giving program, especially their focus on science elementary education.”