In a school district with low science test scores and high poverty rates, environmentalism isn't a political position, said Virginia Rhodes, principal of Aiken University High School in College Hill.

It's a chance at a better life for students, and a work-force development strategy, she said.

With that in mind, Aiken University is now halfway into its first year with a specialized "environmental sciences" course of study, which links students to similar courses at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and job possibilities at government agencies and environmental businesses.

Accolades are pouring in for Aiken's experiment from students and state experts, and now,

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