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, the rest of Cincinnati Public Schools is embarking on an ambitious effort to make classes at all schools more “green.”
Of course, environmentalism isn’t new — Advanced Placement classes in environmental sciences have been around since 1997, and environmental clubs are a staple after-school activity.
But in CPS, officials say, the goal is to eventually have the lessons of sustainable design, environmental preservation and resource management implanted as part of the official curriculum, and in the process, build a new generation of workers with credentials in math and science-heavy careers.