Tuesday, March 12, 2013

DEPARTMENT AWARDS SCHOOL GARDEN GRANTS TO IMPROVE STUDENT LEARNING, NUTRITION

The Idaho State Department of Education is awarding $26,000 to help eight schools across Idaho build school gardens, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna announced today.

Each school will receive a grant of $2,000 to build a garden that will help promote nutrition, science, and agricultural education.

“Idaho has offered school garden grants for several years and seen great results. With a school garden, students can learn critical lessons about nutrition, math, science and many other subject areas in a hands-on learning environment,” Superintendent Luna said.

Research shows that garden-based education can increase academic achievement and often results in higher test scores among students.

In addition to these eight schools, five childcare centers also funded through U.S. Department of Agriculture funding will be awarded school garden grants.

With the most recent grant funding, the schools and childcare centers will implement a wide range of innovative educational activities, from outdoor classrooms to service-learning projects.  Each grant site will also be paired with a horticulture expert from the University of Idaho Extension to serve as garden mentors.

The grants are funded through a Child Nutrition Programs Team Nutrition federal grant. The grant requires that nutrition education be a part of every school garden plan, and every grant site has to allow students to taste the foods grown in the garden.

The State Department of Education will work with these schools throughout the year to create a best practices guide that other Idaho schools can use in future years if they want to incorporate a successful gardening program into the school curriculum.

The State Department of Education awarded school garden grants to 11 schools in 2008 and to 15 schools in 2010. Based on the great results these schools saw with their school gardens, the Department created the How Our Gardens Grow publication, which is posted online at http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/cnp/schoolgarden/.

This booklet highlights the benefits of school gardens and shares how each school used its grant funding to improve student nutrition and learning.

The following is a list of the 13 sites awarded garden grants this year and their respective school districts/locations:


School / Childcare Center
School District / Location
Heritage Middle School
Meridian Joint School District
Moscow Charter School
Moscow Charter School
Kellogg Middle and Sunnyside Elementary
Kellogg School District
Borah High School
Boise School District
Fernan Elementary
Coeur d’Alene School District
Parma Learning Center
Parma School District
Troy Elementary
Troy School District
Heritage Community Charter School
Heritage Community Charter School
Little People’s Academy
Idaho Falls
Tator Tots Childcare
American Falls
Mountain Home Air Force Base Youth Programs
Mountain Home
Valley Crises Center
Nampa
Ms. Amy’s Daycare
Fruitland
 
For more information, please visit http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/cnp/schoolgarden/.

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