On Monday, February 20th, 50 principals, teachers, and administrators from Shelby County Schools, Achievement School District, and Jubilee Catholic Schools gathered in at the Memphis Teaching & Learning Academy to attend an appreciation breakfast co-hosted by Shelby County Schools and Big Green.
The convening of principals and Garden Team leaders from schools with Learning Gardens over a year old was the first of its kind for the Memphis region. Five schools were selected from a pool of 51 to recognize them for outstanding achievement in garden education utilizing their Big Green Learning Garden. Kingsbury Elementary School, Treadwell Middle School, and Raleigh-Egypt Middle-High School from Shelby County Schools; Aspire Coleman Elementary from Achievement School District; and St. Joseph Elementary from Jubilee Catholic Schools were selected to receive school-wide awards as well as Garden Champion awards to individual Garden Team Leads.
At the event, teachers and principals met with garden champions from other schools and worked together to create their own dream Learning Garden design as an opening activity. They also had the chance to share challenges and successes in their gardens and hear from Shelby County STEM Manager Dedric McGee about the importance of connecting classroom learning to hands-on application in the garden. He also emphasized the importance of integrating the Learning Garden into the culture at each school – from an administrative level, encouraging and allowing teachers to take their students outside, and for teachers currently utilizing the garden to reach out to those who aren’t yet involved.
The opportunity for teachers and principals from schools across the city to gather under the unifying banner of being Learning Garden schools in the city was a great opportunity for them to meet and collaborate with their peers and see the wide-reaching impact that Learning Gardens are having on Memphis!
Image: Lynn Reed and Anne Phillips from Idlewild Elementary School and Principal Bo Griffin and Dr. Josefina Goodwin from Raleigh-Egypt High School work together to create their version of a dream spring Learning Garden during the opening activity!