On January 12th, 8 local middle school teachers from Cashmere, Cascade, Chelan, Entiat, Eastmont, and Quincy schools attended a training to learn about taking solar energy and constructing solar cars into their classrooms through a program called Junior Solar Sprint (JSS), thanks in part to a generous donation from the Chelan Douglas School Retirees’ Association (CDSRA).

JSS is a US Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) that challenges students to design, build, and race solar electric vehicles using hands-on engineering skills and principles of science and math. JSS is designed to support the instruction of STEM in categories such as alternative fuels, engineering design, and aerodynamics.

Pete Phillips, of the North Central Educational Service District, was asked by statewide STEM education champion, Washington STEM, to develop and deliver a training locally; in partnership with the Apple STEM Network, and in support of STEM education efforts in 5 other communities across the state. The trainings will take place between now and February.

Teachers at the Wenatchee training were paired into teams and challenged to design and build model solar cars and then race other teacher teams. Each teacher was provided a classroom kit valued at $200 to take back to their students. The kits were purchased with a $1600 donation from the Chelan Douglas School Retirees’ Association.

This is the only one of the five trainings statewide to be supported by a local school-retirees’ association. And this is the second time that the CDSRA has come alongside an educational effort to support STEM. Last summer, CDSRA fully funded a STEM challenge summer camp for middle school students in collaboration with Wenatchee Valley College (WVC) continuing education.

Pete Phillips says that the impact of this JSS training could be significant, “This could affect 2400 kids in our region based on all middle school kids going through a STEM or tech class.” Pete added, “We are grateful to the Chelan Douglas School Retirees’ Association for their support in making this possible.”

The Chelan Douglas School Retirees’ Association has a mission to “foster involvement by school retirees in educational and community activities and organizations” and the CDSRA executive board has been proactively listening for ways to support active teachers. This most recent investment is a great example of that commitment.

This collaboration also highlights the efforts of the Apple STEM Network. Dr. Sue Kane, of Wenatchee Valley College, and Co-director of the Apple STEM Network said, “I am elated to have these sorts of collaborations taking place. Our community truly is wrapping around educators, bringing resources, and expertise that will continue to benefit our students.”

Contact Info:
Sue Kane – skane@wvc.edu 509.682.6760

About Apple STEM Network:

Through shared vision and enthusiasm, the Apple STEM Network will clear a pathway and secure resources for students to build STEM fluency, thereby opening the door to new opportunities and careers in our valley and stimulating the economic development of the greater Wenatchee area.

About Washington STEM:

Washington STEM is a statewide nonprofit advancing excellence, equity, and innovation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. For more information, go to www.washingtonstem.org.

About the North Central Educational Service District:

The mission of the North Central Educational Service District is to provide leadership and quality service in advocating innovative educational programs for children and community.

About the Chelan Douglas School Retirees’ Association:

The Mission of the Chelan/Douglas School Retirees’ Association is to secure and protect retirees’ benefits and to provide educational and service opportunities for members.