Karla Purcell: JFK Magnet School Garden, Port Chester, NY

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From a panel discussion, "Growing Curriculum: Creating School Gardens," held as part of the 2014 THV institute, "Farms & Food: Teaching the Hudson Valley from the Ground Up." More information at www.TeachingtheHudsonValley.

Karla Purcell is a fourth grade teacher. During her tenure at JFK she also has taught grades one and two and a hands-on science lab program for grades 1-5. Teaching the science lab got Karla involved in the garden with a small lunchtime club. Over the past several years the JFK garden space has evolved into a complex of four raised beds and a greenhouse that is the foundation for an after school program encompassing gardening, nutrition, science, food citizenship, literacy, and technology. In addition, students donate hundreds of pounds of produce to local not-for-profits. describes creation and maintenance of a school garden.

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Karla Purcell: JFK Magnet School Garden, Port Chester, NY

  1. 1. John F. Kennedy Magnet School Garden
  2. 2. How did our story begin? In 2010 a teacher at JFK wrote a grant to have a raised bed built in an unused courtyard in the center of our building. Over the next three years, additional grants were written for three more beds. In 2012, JFK received a generous donation from IBM to be put towards building a greenhouse. After a year of fundraising and getting through some red tape, we finally had greenhouse!
  3. 3. Our Garden Program Then… Prior to 2012, our garden was used and maintained by a fifth grade garden club group that met at lunchtime with the help of a master gardener from the Cornell Cooperative Extension.
  4. 4. …And Now We now have an after school program for grades three and four that incorporates gardening, nutrition, literacy, and technology. All of our produce is donated to the Carver Center Food Pantry in Port Chester.
  5. 5. Our Partners and Sponsors IBM The Verizon Foundation The Hudson River Presbytery Tamarack Tower Foundation Jacob Burns Film Center Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture Whole Foods Rye YMCA Neri Bakery Joe Cassino, Landscaper County Legislator Bill Ryan Port Chester Carver Center Rye Country Day School
  6. 6. Contact Information jfk.portchesterschools.org Lou Cuglietto, Principal lcuglietto@portchesterschools.org Karla Purcell kpurcell@portchesterschools.org

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