Our mission is to build a deep understanding of energy through education, encouraging choices that result in sustainability in our communities, economy and environment.
Our programs serve K–12 students, their teachers, and their school communities throughout Vermont and New Hampshire. We guide students in developing a deep understanding of energy efficiency and conservation, renewable energy technologies, and climate change. We also provide ways for students to take action on the issues they are learning about so that they can make a difference.
We take a hands-on, minds-on approach to education. Our programming puts scientific materials and engineering equipment in students’ hands so that they can make predictions, test their assumptions, and make claims from evidence. Our approach is consistent with the kind of education John Dewey had in mind when he wrote, “We learn by doing, but only if we reflect on what we have done.”
Our Approach and the Next Generation Science Standards
Our programming is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, which have been adopted in both Vermont and New Hampshire to guide science learning in K–12 classrooms. We help teachers learn about and meet the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards. We recognize that teachers have a sometimes overwhelming amount of requirements for what they must accomplish in the classroom. Our programs help teachers deliver these requirements rather than being just another “add-on” to what they are trying to accomplish.
The Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP) was founded in 1979 by the Vermont Department of Public Service and the Vermont Department of Education in response to a dramatic increase in requests from teachers for energy and the environmental curricula during the oil embargo. Fran Barhydt, a nationally recognized teacher of teachers, was hired by VEEP in 1988 and was joined in 1992 by Andy Shapiro, an energy consultant and teacher with broad expertise in energy science. Their first collaboration on solar workshops grew out of the Tour de Sol, a solar-powered vehicle race. The workshops were a great success and inspired Fran and Andy to develop a range of energy curricula using exemplary teaching approaches in science, math, and technology. This collaboration has formed the core of VEEP’s approach ever since: to engage students around the pressing social and environmental issue of our time—energy.
VEEP became an independent 501(c)3 organization in 2013, after operating as part of Vermont Energy Investment Corporation for many years. In 2016, VEEP won the Vermont Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence.
In 2017, VEEP officially registered the New Hampshire Energy Education Program (NHEEP) with the state of New Hampshire to provide similar support to NH schools, and started to hire New Hampshire staff and add New Hampshire board members.
Today, VEEP and NHEEP promote energy literacy for Vermont and New Hampshire teachers and students through our core programs.