Newark Board of Education continues to grow its commitment to districtwide sustainability education by partnering with The Trust for Public Land, Natural Ground 1, The Energy Diamonds Sustainability Ambassadors Club, and the PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies at Montclair State University, to pilot a community garden program at Louise A. Spencer Elementary School. The project will provide opportunities for volunteers including community members from Grace West Housing, Newark Boys & Girls Club, Americorps, and the Empowered Schools Club. The Schoolyard Garden will serve as an onsite resource for growing fresh food and teaching students about urban agriculture, environmental science, and entrepreneurship.
Students and members of the community will have access to the fresh food grown at Louise A. Spencer Elementary School. The program integrates urban agriculture practices, STEM education, and financial literacy. This project will serve as a model for outdoor classroom learning labs in school communities that serve student populations of black and brown leaders of tomorrow - today! The programming at the school’s community garden will follow an interdisciplinary approach in which teachers, students, student mentors, and community partners will participate in training and hands-on activities that show the connectivity between key concepts in Math, English Language Arts, and Earth Sciences and have fun doing so! The collective vision for the school garden is to partner with the neighboring district school, Newark Vocational, by which their Culinary Arts students can utilize the site as a teaching hub. The hallmark of the participatory design model is one that provides outdoor classroom exploration labs, mentorship and service learning project engagement year-round!