School gets garden grant funds
Janesville and Shaffer Union Elementary School Districts each received $2,500. Sierra Primary School, Herlong High School and Fort Sage Middle School, all located in the Fort Sage School District each received $2,500.
Diamond View School, McKinley School, and Meadow View School, which are all in the Susanville School District, each received $2,500.
Shaffer Superintendent Jason Waddell said the grant money will be used to upgrade Shaffer School’s greenhouse and flowerbeds will be planted on the campus.
A portion of the funding has also been set aside for staff development opportunities in agriculture.
Waddell said normally there isn’t specific funding for agriculture at the elementary level. The grant provides an opportunity for students to get hands-on training, he said.
Approximately 175 students, about half of the student population, live on a ranch, are involved in FFA or are 4-H members. The grant will provide a way for students to tie in school projects with other areas of their lives, he said.
In the Susanville School District, McKinley School plans to use the money to landscape the back area of the school, which faces Paul Bunyan Road.
According to Diamond View School Principal Patty Gunderson, Diamond View will use the funding to expand the school’s recently purchased greenhouse program. Equipment, materials and supplies will be purchased to integrate an environmental-based education in combination with the traditional curriculum.
Funds will also be used to send staff to workshops and other training opportunities where they will learn to connect and apply the garden project to what is already being taught in the classroom.
Diamond View students will have the opportunity to design and create a school garden and help landscape the school grounds. During the process, students will be able to integrate the garden with other subjects by using writing, math calculations, science, history and community service.
Projects will include planting native foods in order to help students understand the different cultures in Lassen County.
Students will also help landscape the school grounds.
According to Meadow View School teacher Linda Dunn, the staff at Meadow View had been discussing the idea to grow a flower and vegetable garden.
When the grant became available, the Susanville School District applied for it.
“We are thrilled and excited,” Dunn said of receiving the grant money.
Raised garden beds will be constructed near a portion of the school’s fence and an automatic sprinkler system will be installed
Dunn said the classes will pair up and be responsible for a portion of the garden and will be responsible for planting the seeds and weeding.
Dunn said the school is looking at a variety of ways to plant the gardens and it is hoped the students will be able to sell what they grow.
In addition, the garden will give students an opportunity to see food doesn’t just come from a grocery store, Dunn said.
It is hoped the gardens will be ready to be planted in the spring.
SSD Superintendent Gary McIntire, former Janesville School’s superintendent, wrote the grant for Janesville school.
There are two raised beds at Janesville School, which McIntire said were used primarily for flowers.
Some of the teachers at Janesville School grew gourds and melons and the grant would expand on what the district is already doing.
The intent was to add additional boxes and two new drip irrigation systems, McIntire said.
In addition, the gardens would enhance life science classes where students learn about seeds, genetics and pollination. The grant would provide hands-on experience as students could plant seeds, watch them germinate and grow.
A press release from the California Department of Education, said a study shows students participating in environment-based learning tend to have reduced discipline and classroom management problems; have better problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making skills, and have an increased enthusiasm for learning. Instructional school gardens also provide students with hands-on, environment-based education that positively impacts their healthy food choices, knowledge of nutrition, and physical activity.
There was $15 million in grant money but only $10.8 million was disbursed to 3,849 California schools. Local education agencies are eligible to apply for the non-competitive grant. Since there is remaining grant money, another round will be offered early next year.
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