GEORGETOWN, KY – The Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) has approved Georgetown College’s Environmental Education Endorsement Program for teachers and others working in environmentally-related jobs. The P-12 endorsement program helps bridge the gap between academics and practical application.
Enrollment begins March 13. This 12 credit hour course of study may be taken for professional development or be applied toward a Teacher Leader Master of Arts or Rank One in School Improvement Master of Arts degree. Individual courses may also be taken as electives without doing the entire 12 hour program.
Several teachers early-on enrolled in the program as a cognate, including Diane Lally at St. John School in Georgetown. “Through the coursework, I have honed my skills in not only teaching students about the environment that surrounds them, but also in cross-curricular teaching of a concept often presented exclusively in science classes,” writes the middle school science teacher in an email. She adds, “Going forward, I feel confident that having an endorsement in Environmental Education will prepare me to successfully implement the Kentucky Environmental Literacy Plan and the Next Generation Science Standards in my classroom.”
There are two required core courses in which all North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE) standards and guidelines are met at least once. Participants may then choose from several electives for their other two courses, including ones in Environmental Science and English.
Emily DeMoor, PhD, Assistant Professor of Education, teaches the core courses and two electives. “The health and vitality of the Earth and its life systems is the overarching issue of the 21st century,” she says. “Knowledge, creativity, and innovation are called for at this historic moment of transition to a more sustainable way of being on the planet.”
Dr. DeMoor is passionate in her belief that education is key to this transition and that the Environmental Education Endorsement Program prepares educators to creatively cultivate environmental literacy across the curriculum so as to move forward into a hopeful and sustainable future.
Another St. John School teacher currently in the program is Barbara Mardell. “Dr. DeMoor’s course, “Topics in Education: Environmental Ethics and Education,” has enabled me to make deep connections to pressing environmental issues, and has opened my ears to the fundamental call of all people to reflect upon how our actions impact the environment, and what we must do preserve our natural environment,” she writes. “I cannot think of a better practice than the ‘best practice’ of connecting our students to the very planet which sustains us.”
One unique aspect of the Georgetown College Environmental Endorsement Program is that students may elect to explore and understand environmentalism from interfaith religious perspectives. It is an approach not currently offered by other colleges and universities in the Commonwealth and one that invites a spirituality of hope that is informed by science.
Another rather unique feature of the curriculum is the experience offered in partnership with St. John’s Educational Wetlands Restoration Center in Georgetown, Kentucky. Included are a one-day workshop, which is led by wetlands biologist Tom Biebighauser, hands-on learning, and data collection at the Wetlands site.
Other elements include nature writing and journaling, social justice and service learning to help cultivate a deeper understanding of diversity, culture, and justice in the context of the larger life community, and training in the implementation of the Kentucky Environmental Literacy Plan (KELP) for public schools, scheduled to be rolled out in the summer.
Georgetown College’s online and blended programs offer convenient and flexible options. The interdisciplinary project-based courses are designed to cultivate environmental literacy across the curriculum in both formal and informal settings.
For more information, contact Emily DeMoor, Ph.D., Rank I Program Chair and Assistant Professor of Education, at 502-863-8171 or email Emily_DeMoor(at)GeorgetownCollege.edu. Online: http://www.georgetowncollege.edu/education