Green Technology Complex at Scripps Ranch High Will Be An Interactive Teaching Tool on Green Careers
By Miriam Raftery
October 29, 2009 (San Diego’s East County) – Students at Scripps Ranch High School will soon be learning about sustainable technology careers in the greenest educational facility in San Diego County. A model of the school’s planned Green Technology Complex was unveiled October 16 at a “Growing Green Careers” forum at Cuyamaca College. Once completed over the next year, the building complex itself will become a teaching tool—complete with interactive displays inside and out.
“It’s been a vision of mine for many years to offer something in green technologies,” said Greg Quirlin, resource teacher for San Diego Unified School District. Formerly an automotive instructor who taught alternative fuel-based projects, Quirlin now heads up a green careers program to help students at Scripps Ranch High School learn about jobs in growth areas of the future.
At the Green Technology Complex, an energy tower with LCD screens will display relevant building information compiled from photovoltaic solar panels on the roof capable of generating 10,000 watts of power. The complex will also include wind turbines, a weather data station, and a rainwater collection system.
It will include five separate structures—each built of different materials (wood, concrete, steel, brick and block, and multiple media). Inside, sections of walls covered with plexiglass instead of drywall will give students glimpses of plumbing, insulation, and other building infrastructure. The project will also feature an engineering component and laboratories for students to conduct projects.
“Our vision was to see what this new sustainable and green wave looks like,” said Quirlin. What does that mean in education?” His vision is now becoming a reality thanks to a grant funded through Proposition 1D to modernize and rebuild career technical education programs.
A green technology and energy course is already being offered to introduce ninth and tenth graders to career options. “What is green technology? It can be furniture, construction design, engineering, transportation such as biodiesel and propane, solar, or wind turbines,” Quirlin notes. “We are even going to participate in a 2010 solar competition where students build a solar-powered boat. A student might propose a watershed project or research alternative fuels,” he added. “We want to spark their curiosity now and let them see what’s out there.”
“I’m very happy to do this course,” says Mena Abdo, a math and science teacher who is teaching an introduction to green technology course. “This year is our pilot year. The kids are reacting pretty positively. It’s a lot of hands-on stuff. They get to build different modules. We’ve been doing a lot with electricity, so they are learning how to wire things. From there, we are going into solar cells, use of electricity and why it’s important.”
Kids enjoy the “cool stuff” they are learning, says Abdo, who sees a broad spectrum of careers in green fields. “We need installers, all the way up to experts in the new technologies. Hopefully I’m going to be teaching some of those engineers.”
He concluded, I like that we are actually bringing this to kids at such an early level instead of waiting for community college….These kids will have a jump start on everybody else.”