Melrose Elementary School ‘Digs up’ Community Support for Campus Gardens
- Nov 13, 07
A Melrose Elementary first grade student completes an assignment in the campus garden.
The “great outdoors” is not far beyond the classroom doors for students at Melrose Elementary School. When you walk just beyond the playground you will find a quiet refuge just for birds and trees. The school has an array of gardens and a bird and tree sanctuary on the campus. “Our teachers Christine Rollins and Brenda Loyd were the brains behind the project, but our students drew sketches of the sanctuary and plotted it out and voted on the best way to set it up,” recalls Principal Cathy Greenwood. The sanctuary and gardens is a special teaching tool where students receive a hands-on lesson in science, math, and reading. “It provides engaging activities across the curriculum,” says Greenwood. The staff and students had the vision and groups like Baton Rouge Green, The Kiwanis Club and Community Coffee provided the resources to make it happen. Mrs. Greenwood says the extra help was needed. “We used money from the Community Coffee ‘Cash for Schools’ program to buy bird seed, a bird bath and benches.” She says Baton Rouge Green not only brought in trees and bird houses, but the organization taught the students the proper way to plant trees, helping to strengthen important math skills. The school also receives help in the gardens from Episcopal High School students. Once or twice a year the students come on campus and interact with students in the gardens. They also buy replacement plants and soil. The learning activities in the sanctuary and the garden are mostly enjoyed by the first grade students. Principal Greenwood says they are learning higher order thinking skills, such as comparing, inferring, evaluation and planning. “The kids are excited and engaged and it promotes their writing and reading skills. It builds science vocabulary and relates to real world applications,” she explains. In a recent science lesson, former EBR Teacher of the Year, Chris Rollins asked first graders to compare two herbs, peppermint and basil. Students went to the garden and chose the correct herbs and wrote sentences which explained the differences between the two. Students were excited about the assignment, many noticing the different sizes and texture of the leaves and the color of the stems. “This is an enriching experience for the children,” says Rollins. The Melrose Elementary bird sanctuary and gardens received a special designation two years ago when it was named an official National Wildlife Federation Schoolyard Habitats Site. Future plans for the sanctuary include a science work station trail, greenhouses, and outdoor classrooms.
Principal Brister in Washington, D.C., to Accept McKinley Middle School’s Second Blue Ribbon Award
On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Principal Herman Brister (pictured, left) and the school’s Teacher of the Year, Lynn Williamson (right), were in Washington, D.C., accepting McKinley Middle Academic Magnet School’s National Blue Ribbon Award from U.S. Department of Education’s Director of National Blue Ribbon Schools Program Aba Kumi (center). The event, which recognized some 314 schools from across the United States, was held at the Omni Hotel. Click herefor story.
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