NEWS RELEASE: Morse High School Students Return to School With New Career Skills Thanks to Summer STEM Solar Work Experience

Posted: Monday, August 21st 2017


Morse High School Students Return to School With New Career Skills Thanks to Summer STEM Solar Work Experience; Innovative STEM program gives students the opportunity to practice their leadership skills with a hands-on experience in the green energy sector

San Diego, Calif., Aug. 18, 2017 – In collaboration with the Morse High School STEM team, San Diego Unified School District and OpTerra Energy Services developed a five-session summer program for students in the school’s STEM Distinction Program. 

Students got a unique learning opportunity while the photovoltaic (PV) site was under construction. OpTerra provided solar education resources and hands-on materials, subject matter experts, and guest speakers at the construction site to teach students about solar panel technology and the green energy industry.

The 19 students in the program were divided into three groups, each working with a teacher and an OpTerra mentor to research and create a functional solar product that can be utilized by San Diego Unified and OpTerra, allowing the students to meet their summer STEM requirements. The student groups created: 

  • A video on best practices for maintenance of the photovoltaic panels and best energy use practices for building occupants.
  • A unit on solar energy that can be implemented and used with other San Diego Unified schools.
  • A pilot engineering design to create an inexpensive way to clean PV panels on a more regular basis to maintain better output.

“This program provides a unique opportunity for bright and innovative high school students to learn about real life applications of STEM,” said Crista Curtis, Regional Business Development Manager, OpTerra Energy Services. “We are thrilled to work with the San Diego Unified School District on educational opportunities like these.”  

Funds from the San Diego Workforce Partnership paid students a stipend for participation in the Summer STEM Solar Program. 

 “It is these innovative programs that encourage students to pursue careers in science,” said Alfred Love, Director of College, Career, and Technical Education at San Diego Unified. “The kids in this program  got to see how science and mathematics can be applied in the real world. They had to work in teams to research and produce a solar product, much like a real job. These students will have a leg-up as they pursue their educational and career aspirations.” 

Construction of the solar photovoltaic canopies was funded by San Diego Unified’s Propositions S and Z, which are local bond measures approved by San Diego voters to repair, renovate and revitalize neighborhood schools.  In addition to renovation and replacement, bond projects include classroom technology, facilities to support College, Career and Technical Education, classroom air conditioning, safety and security upgrades, and other facilities improvements at traditional and public charter schools throughout San Diego Unified.

About College, Career and Technical Education (CCTE): CCTE provides high quality, college and career themed programs that enrich and engage students with state-of-the art, dynamic and challenging courses. These courses integrate core standards and industry competencies with real-world applications that prepare students for success. 

About OpTerra Energy Services Inc.: OpTerra Energy Services is a national energy company that works with education, local government, commercial, industrial, and institutional organizations to implement efficiency and sustainable energy solutions that save money, enhance safety, improve assets, and protect the environment. As a subsidiary of ENGIE S.A., the number one energy efficiency services provider in the world, OpTerra Energy Services provides a unique and extensive set of energy and sustainability management services to thousands of customers across the U.S. The company has provided more than $2 billion in energy savings for its customers over the past 40 years. To learn more, please visit www.opterraenergy.com or contact Lani Wild, communications manager, at 415-735-9080.

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Media contacts:

Lani Wild, Communications Manager, OpTerra Energy Services: lwild@opterraenergy.com , 415-735-9080

Samer Naji, Facilities Communications Supervisor, San Diego Unified School District: snaji@sandi.net, 619-725-7747

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