Beacon Preservation’s GREEN LIGHT ACADEMY (GLA) is an innovative program for a minimum of 30 high school students (incoming grades 10-12) of diverse backgrounds to engage in an intensive two-week college-residential summer program designed to reduce isolation due to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, and sexual identity. Students participate in an interactive curriculum of academics and applied learning activities to learn sustainable energy system design and green-collar skills. The academy promotes math, science, and technology through collaborative teamwork where students diagnose, design, test, and trouble-shoot with newfound knowledge and abilities.
Students will be transported from Connecticut to the beautiful campus of the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine for a two-week residential academy that builds academic, interpersonal, and career skills pertaining to the global energy crisis and our need for sustainable energy systems tailored to specific structures, climates, physical geography, and weather.
The program is experiential in that small diverse inter-district teams of students are challenged to brainstorm on most appropriate energy sources (wind, solar, tidal, current) for lighthouse design. They will conduct technology research to assess the efficiency of each energy source, collect the data, identify variables that determine best design, “crunch” data to calculate the most efficient and cost-effective power system, and work together (in concert with a team of engineers, scientists, architects, and teachers) to implement and test the system.
The students live on campus for two weeks and while every day is different, most days start with morning academics, followed by afternoon teamwork sessions where students tackle applied-learning projects or. Team-oriented exercises include enrichment activities utilizing a diverse population of guest speaker-experts who involve students in scientific experiments, equipment demonstrations, and field trips. All transportation is provided, and the Green Light Academy program, including meals and accommodation, is free of charge to all students pending funding from the State of Connecticut Board of Education Interdistrict Grant project.
The academy includes 4o+ hours of classroom curriculum, and another 40+ hours of team-building and applied learning exercises including community service (e.g. beach or forest clean-ups), hands-on skill-building activities, and fieldwork. Week two involves multiple field trips, including boat expeditions and overnight camping trips to the incredible Allied Whale project on COA’s Mount Desert Rock and the bird sanctuary on Great Duck Island.
In both Connecticut and Maine, GLA uses local experts and stakeholders to ensure that the scope of curriculum and sequence of activities fits the needs of today’s students and future industry trends. It acquaints students with a variety of green-collar career options, exposing them to pathways of higher education. The primary objectives of the Green Light Academy are to reduce isolation, promote multi-culturalism, enhance academic performance in science, math, and technology, and demonstrate the nexus between history, culture, architecture, and environment.