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Solar energy arrives at Woodruff, four District 150 teachers achieve National Certification

Peoria Public Schools District 150

Solar panels at Woodruff Career and Technical Center are now active and producing energy.

At Monday night’s Board of Education meeting, representatives from Ruyle Mechanical Services and Peoria Public Schools made a presentation to the Board outlining the construction process, which began in 2019 with a $1.6 million award from the E.D. Edwards Coal Plant Grant.

The newly updated roof at Woodruff holds 545 panels, covering a total of over 17,000 square feet with a total cost of $680,000 with an additional $100,000 worth of other purchases for the project from other local businesses.

According to Ruyle representatives, the estimated annual production is over 318,000 kWhs, which would save the District approximately $16,000 and offset 226 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.

The system also includes online connections for students to actively monitor solar production as part of their curriculum. Michael Brix leads the classes covering renewable energy at Woodruff, and he says there are a variety of benefits, both educational and functional.

“The students will be able to see the value of being conscious of the energy we use, and [will be] looking to see what amount of energy the panels do offset for us,” said Brix. “It is exciting for us.”

The Board also recognized four teachers in the District who had received certification from the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). According to the NBPTS website, the process results in the “highest certification a teacher may obtain.” The four teachers certified were Emily Dawson, Shannon Sailer, Michelle Salazar, Lauren Wulf.

Amy Smith, Director of the National Board Resource Center housed at Illinois State University, emphasizes the impact of certified teachers in the classroom.

“There’s more than a decade of research from across the country that confirms that students taught by National Board certified teachers learn more than students taught by non-National Board certified teachers,” said Smith. “This is even greater for students that come from low-income communities.”

The Board expressed gratitude to the teachers who had taken on the two-year process of certification, some having completed the process during remote learning.

Mike Rundle is a correspondent at WCBU. He joined the station in 2020.