#aglanta : Family and Community Connections

The family is the foundation and garden pursuits can lead to sustained inroads for many levels of growth and learning. Creativity, vigor, commitment, trust, and relationships will hold us together as a community and as a school ~ this makes the outcome a win-win.

The school garden is a year round initiative to produce plants and vegetables for the families of Spring Hill. Growing up is a principle and, just as we are born as seeds and are nurtured to produce fruit, the labor of love is ongoing and necessary to help honor and create experiences for community. The garden is physically and figuratively of primary importance so that we collide with those who dig and plant during the season of life we at Spring Hill have in connection with students and their families.

In coordination with the Fayetteville city planners, I am seeking direction and experience through the process of collaborating with the planners and leaders of our community to allow the school to connect and be integral in the forward thinking surrounding aquaponics in future green space initiatives. As a learner and facilitator, I aim to connect and tell the story of Spring Hill Elementary and the STEAM initiative in addition to how gardening is growing families and community connections with those of and in Atlanta.

The connections with educators and leaders that are in the midst of politics and education are so important to sustain the integrity of thinking and planning towards growth and community. The garden provides principles that are being turned into action. As a school, the community supports the function of the school but, as a community, how much does it expect the school to contribute?

As stated by our assistant principle, Lisa Moore, “But what happens once those seeds are planted? We can’t just leave them there and hope that they grow. We continue to cultivate those seeds; those relationships. But each seed may be different, just like every relationship is different. Some seeds (relationships) need more sun or watering than others. All of our students come from a different culture and need to be cultivated differently. That’s why it is important to get to know our students and provide culturally responsive teaching. When we do, our students feel included and are more apt to be engaged, and that’s when we see an increase in academic achievement. Student connection and relevancy, not girt, leads to sustained interest. And with anything when there is sustained interest, the goal is almost always achieved.”

The garden initiative at Spring Hill is ongoing and just beginning. I want to learn and grow with the initiative. There is so much potential in students taking ownership of their lives and learning and aquaponics has this potential.

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