LOS OSOS – A $9,800 grant from PG&E was celebrated at a ribbon-cutting Thursday night (April 25) for new, energy-efficient sixth-grade classrooms at Los Osos Middle School.
Starting next school year, about 140 sixth-graders will be added to the seventh- and eighth-grade middle school in San Luis Obispo County where they will focus on the school’s STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) model of instruction.
Waiting for the sixth-graders will be eight energy-efficient classrooms. PG&E’s grant paid for the energy efficiency upgrades necessary to prepare the facilities for incoming classes, resulting in a 50 percent reduction in energy usage.
“This is huge,” said Karl Blum, assistant principal at Los Osos Middle School. “One of things we wanted to do was to provide a 21st Century classroom setting… This does it and reduces lighting costs by half.”
Any savings for the school in this time of limited budgets and spending helps, said Blum. “We can take that savings and utilize that within other areas of our campus.”
The sixth-graders will be the first entire grade level focused on the STEAM curriculum. Today, only some of the school’s 525-student follow the STEAM model, but eventually the whole school will transition to the curriculum, said Blum.
The STEAM program is part of the district’s strategic plan to improve student test scores, use more technology in the classroom and increase the number of students who qualify for the University of California and California State University systems.
Thursday night’s ribbon cutting was attended by Eric Prater, superintendent of San Luis Coastal Unified School District, the district’s board members, Los Osos Middle School staff, along with several hundred students, their families and community members. PG&E’s Natalie Schafer, community relations representative, presented the ceremonial check.