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School Gardens


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School Gardens by Josue Cruz

Published in: Education
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School Gardens

  1. 1. School Gardens “Ideas Verdes”
  2. 2. Background: Puerto Rico  U.S. Territory  Population: 3.6 million  Import 95% of all goods  Agriculture is one of the smallest segments of its economy. Only 7%.  Cost of living is 13% higher than the median for US Cities.
  3. 3. Background: Puerto Rico  “Puerto Rico is twice as poor than the poorest State of the United States”  Healthy food is more expensive than healthy food.  Fast Food invasion  Expensive healthy food + Cheap junk food + Poverty=
  4. 4. Background: Puerto Rico’s Economic Evolution 1898 – U.S. Invasion 1899- Paris Treaty 1900- Foraker Act 1917- Jones Act 1938- P.R.E.R.A. 1952- Commonwealth of Puerto Rico 1952- IRS Tax Exemption Secc. 936 1992- Pro Statehood Movement 1996- Gradual elimination of Secc.936 start 2004- End of Secc. 936 2005-2014 Debt Balloon
  5. 5. Source of Inspiration and ideas Youth Leadership Summit for Sustainable Development- Martha’s Vineyard Island Grown Schools Martha’s Vineyard – 5 months growing season Puerto Rico- ALL YEAR LONG!
  6. 6. Finding Opportunities Puerto Rico in 2010: - Government was investing millions to set-up a pipeline for natural gas. - It was called “Green Way” - Interest of Government into “green ideas” - School Yard Habitat Program – Matching funds available for P.R. - Funds had to be used in less than 8 months. - A group of people got together to set a plan and apply for the grant. - The plan was done in 3 weeks. - The grant was approved in December 2009 - School year ends in may. - What was it about?
  7. 7. School Gardens: the challenge • 150 elementary public schools • 5,000 students • 300 teachers • Educational Staff: 45 • Administrative Staff: 25 • School Busses 200 • P.R. Parks and Recreation Agency Partnership (Cash solvency problem) • 550 field trips
  8. 8. School Garden Project Objectives 1- Teach the students the importance of planting their own food. 2-Get their families involved. 3-Use the science class twice a week to discuss environmental issues. 4-Create awareness of food independence. 5- Integrate science curriculum to improve their skills for national tests.
  9. 9. School Garden Project: Special ED School • Plan: • Meet with all the faculty to present the project. • Some of them were resistent about the capacity of their students to learn or to handle planting tools. • Independent living course integration. • Hands on: • Hired 2 special ed teachers and a sign language translator • Adapted the content of the curriculum. • Students were excited with the idea of the garden.
  10. 10. School Garden Project: Special ED School • Outcome: • Teachers were impressed on how some autistic students were motivated to interact with others when they were seeing the plants growing. • Governor’s wife heard about the project and went personally to see it. • At the end, Secretary of Education and the First Lady signed an agreement to permanently integrate the School Garden Curriculum to the Independent Living Course.
  11. 11. School Garden Project: Outcomes • Students expanded their school gardens and many other teachers got involved. • Students had the opportunity to have fieldtrips to ecological parks around the Island. In fact, more than 550 field trips were coordinated. • Students impacted by the program improved by 15% in the science standardized test vs. students that didn’t participate. • Students in some schools provided their crops to be used in the school cafeteria. • Entrepreneurial spirit was ignited, students started to sell pumpkin crops to local supermarkets. • The response to the program was so positive, that for the school year 2010-2011 by order of the Secretary of Education 500 schools were included into the program. 17,000 students were impacted and 350 new school gardens were added.