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Student Power, Carver Elementary School

March 20, 2009
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photo - From left, back row: parent Alma Granillo; Jane Goodall; educators Carina Raetz, Julie McClellan and Alma Tetrault. Middle row: Maricela Sanchez; Tadeo Villavicencio. Front row: Kimberly Perez; Gisselle Palma-Teran; Ashley Webster; Isaac Ramirez. Photo by COURTESY OF CARINA RAETZ
From left, back row: parent Alma Granillo; Jane Goodall; educators Carina Raetz, Julie McClellan and Alma Tetrault. Middle row: Maricela Sanchez; Tadeo Villavicencio. Front row: Kimberly Perez; Gisselle Palma-Teran; Ashley Webster; Isaac Ramirez. Photo by COURTESY OF CARINA RAETZ 

Six students from Carver Elementary gave a presentation on energy conservation at a March 18 event in Denver featuring world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall.

The Global Explorers, a Fort Collins-based nonprofit, and Natural Habitat Adventures Travel partnered with the Denver Zoo, The Wildlife Experience, and The Denver Museum of Nature & Science to bring Goodall to Colorado to give her the Citizens of the World Award. But before the ceremony for that award, Goodall attended the Global Explorers' Youth Service Event at Colorado Academy, in southwest Denver. That's where the Carver students gave their presentation and met Goodall.

The students from Carver Elementary in Colorado Springs, plus their mentor Carina Raetz, shared their thoughts about their experience in Denver, meeting Goodall, and why their project is important to them:

Maricela Sanchez: "I felt proud of myself because we were trying to help our world. The best part was meeting Dr. Goodall. I think our project will make our world a better place by not littering, saving energy, and by not wasting water."

Tadeo Villavicencio: "We said, ‘what can we do?' And we did something. We will help the world to be a better place"

Kimberly Perez: "I felt great because I got to talk about things I have done with the group. It is helping make our world a better place."

Gisselle Palma-Teran: "It was really fun because we told Jane Goodall about our project."

Ashley Webster: "Our project is going to make lots of people make choices about energy."

Isaac Ramirez: "Our project is going to save some energy. I am happy because I met Dr. Goodall"

Carina Raetz: "It was awe-inspiring to listen to Dr. Goodall. It was the pinnacle of serving 13 years in the field of education. I am so very proud of my students and their desire to change the world."


Student Power's mission is "to encourage students and staff at Carver to save energy," according to a press release. Raetz, a teacher in English Language Learning at Carver, helped the students organize. Here's how they did it: After coming up with their idea, Student Power — made up of second-, third- and fourth-graders — made a school survey asking for suggestions. Then the children devised a plan to expose the rest of the school to their ideas through classroom presentations, and by meeting with administrators and staff at Carver Elementary.

Here's part of a report by Raetz on the project's conception, planning, follow-through and results:

What did you do?
I was the learning/exploration facilitator. I taught lessons to student groups about the water cycle, oceanic water level changes and potential results, and energy use. I helped arrange to have a meeting between ELL student groups and key building people. I sent the energy use survey through my e-mail server after the students chose to save paper and send it electronically. I am currently facilitating classroom presentation preparation and computer use.

What did your students do? The Carver ELL students expressed the desire to stop the potential outcomes of continued global warming and environmental destruction. They discussed the issue, potential solutions through reduced energy use, and potential school resources. They planned how to go about promoting energy conservation within the school. They decided what material should be included in a staff survey about classroom/building energy use.  They compiled the data from the surveys that were returned. They decided on student roles and responsibilities for a meeting with key people in the building in order to promote their project and solicit advice on additional solutions to reducing energy use at Carver. They decided to create classroom presentations in the next couple of weeks to promote energy conservation. They decided that students/staff listening to presentations will be given the opportunity to make a pledge to reduce energy use at Carver to help measure the results of their presentations and promote individual responsibility.  They decided to compose and submit an article for the 3rd quarter parent/community newsletter about energy conservation at Carver.

Project Results: Staff members completed 15 (currently 16) energy use surveys. The areas of need as gleaned from the surveys will be focused on in presentations.

Classroom teachers requested 15 presentations on energy conservation to be done by ELL students. Two hundred seventy-one students/staff members will potentially be able to see student presentations. (Currently 296.)

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