Nearly 250 educators from across Alabama and northwest Florida became the students for a week at the Empower Energy Education Workshop in June. Seven educators in the Clarke-Washington EMC area were able to attend Empower and become empowered about energy education.

The workshop started in 2017 as a way for PowerSouth and its member systems, such as Clarke-Washington EMC, to promote a balanced approach to energy education in the classroom. PowerSouth partnered with the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) to empower teachers and provide them with the tools to educate students about the electric industry. The resources meet students’ diverse needs and learning styles and are based on Alabama and Florida standards.

“The most beneficial thing about the Empower Workshop was being able to experience hands-on experiments as well as observe different outcomes of the same experiments then discussed the how and why with colleagues,” said Patty Goldman, a teacher at Leroy High School.

Attendees received the tools and curriculum necessary to integrate the activities into their classrooms. These materials, aimed at K-12 students, include hands-on activities designed to teach tomorrow’s leaders about all energy sources – from fossil fuels to renewables. After the workshop, teachers are able to enter the classroom ready to empower their students.

“I have so much to take back to the classrooms. The empower workshop gave me so many ideas to be able to get science and literacy standards met, especially in the lower grade levels,” said Oleatha Anderson, a reading specialist at Leroy High School. “I learned strategies on how to incorporate energy into literacy. Because I have completed a Science of Reading coursework, I was able to see a great deal of multisensory strategies that can be incorporated cross curriculum to get students reading and build interests in their learning.”

“As a cooperative, one of Clarke-Washington EMC’s founding principles is educating our members, said Sarah Turner, communications specialist for Clarke-Washington EMC. “The Empower Workshop provides an opportunity to reach youth in ways we never imagined before by providing educators with the tools they need to present energy education in fun and exciting ways to their students.”

The workshop also provided attendees an opportunity to network with other teachers, sharing ideas and building lifelong connections.

For Lizzie Thompson, as a new teacher in the field of education Empower workshop gave her the opportunity to meet and network with new, experienced and veteran teachers. “I learned how to increase student participation, create interactive group activities and empower their knowledge on energy. Thank you Clarke-Washington EMC for giving me the opportunity to be a part of it,” said Thompson, who teaches at Wilcox Central High School.

Emily Barnes, a teacher at Leroy High School, said, “Coming into the workshop, I expected to learn hands-on activities and explore resources. I am leaving the workshop with a variety of resources that I can use in my classroom to deepen students’ understanding of how the energy they use daily is generated.”

Clarke-Washington EMC believes it is important to provide future generations with a full understanding of the electric system and how it was built. Clarke-Washington EMC looks forward to continuing to make a difference in energy education.

If you would like to learn more about Empower 2023, please contact Sarah Turner at Clarke-Washington EMC at 251.246.9081 or via email: