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Helping Teachers Meet Sustainability Challenges

August 28, 2019

Group of three teachers looking at map on wall

Delta College is proud to be part of the Dow Innovation Teacher Fellowship, a partnership empowering area teachers and students to be change agents for sustainability issues.

Together with the University of Michigan’s Center for Education Design, Evaluation and Research (CEDER) and with funding from Dow, Delta is supporting secondary teachers in designing and implementing a sustainability-focused unit using project-based and place-based learning approaches. Sustainability is an interdisciplinary topic that has clear connections to STEM, civics (policy), economics, communications, literature and other areas.

The first group of area teachers was selected in May to take part in the year-long experience and attended training at the Delta Planetarium in June. The teachers explored issues related to the circular economy, plastics and water quality. The University of Michigan team recruited community partners to collaborate on a sustainability problem teachers and their classes will study.

Engaging with the Environment

The Dow Innovation Teacher Fellowship is open to middle and high school teachers of all disciplines at schools in Arenac, Bay, Midland, Saginaw, Gratiot and Isabella counties.

It was a unique experience for Katie Bryant who teaches Science, Design and Technology at White Pine Middle School in Saginaw Township. She is part of a participating White Pine team with Aimee Priem (English and Language Arts) and Tricia Benkert (Math).

“The students want to know what they can do to impact the future,” she said. “So we have to catch them now while they have this desire to help the environment and this program is going to help us teach our students how to do that."

Luke Freeman, a teacher at AuGres-Sims High School, is excited about the impact the program can have not just locally, but globally.

“When this fellowship became a possibility I jumped on it as quick as I could,” he said. “Because I knew that if universities and community partners showed some interest students would see that this isn't just an idea that their teacher came up with, this is something worldwide people are interested in; keeping our environment clean, keeping it safe and there is something we can do.”