Guilford Elementary Set Begin Garden to Cafeteria Program

In the spring of 2017 Guilford Elementary was honored to receive a $1,500 grant from the Loudoun Education Foundation (LEF), to install six raised grade level garden beds as part of Health and Wellness PBL project at Guilford. The purpose is to integrate nutrition lessons through planting and harvesting of grade level crops. Guilford has also been named one of the LCPS schools for the new School Garden to Cafeteria pilot program through the School Nutrition Office. The project has ties to all grade levels and is facilitated by Mark Pankau, Health and Physical Educator for Guilford.

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Project Based Learning is the second phase on all Loudoun County Public School campuses following the One to the World (OTTW) projects of last school year. The driving question that our students will be investigating will be, “How will growing our own food help us make decisions for our future?”.

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Guilford has already made great progress in our PBL and OTTW integration across grade levels and disciplines with specialists supporting grade levels as exhibited in our wellness and physical education in the areas of nutrition for third grade, exploring the different Virginia Regions through physical activity and supporting planting and growth with the KinderGARDEN projects. These are examples, like the grade level garden beds and highlights how school Specialists can support classroom core curriculum while making meaningful connections for children.
In July Mr. Pankau was contacted by the Loudoun Health Office with information on the Virginia Food Access Network Day of Action on September 29th. The VFAN goals are to raise awareness of organizations working to increase food access to improve nutrition and end hunger. A second goal is to encourage the promotion of food access by facilitating volunteer opportunities.
The Garden to Cafeteria project will provide students hands on skills, while supporting the needs of the Loudoun community. The grade level gardens ribbon cutting on September 29th, will be the kickoff event to the LCPS pilot school program and the VFAN Day of Action.

For more information please contact Mark Pankau at mpankau@lcps.org or Stefanie Dove, RDN at stefanie.dove@lcps.org

School Nutrition Connects Nutrition and Project-Based Learning for Secondary Teachers

School Nutrition Helps Teachers Connect Nutrition with Project-Based Learning
for a day of nutrition education and farm to school training

Ashburn, VA: Last month, School Nutrition Services collaborated with Virginia Cooperative Extension of Loudoun County, Giant Food and Virginia Family Nutrition Program to provide a full day of training to nineteen Loudoun County Middle and High School teachers. The training included topics on general nutrition, food science, plant science and farm to school. This training demonstrated how these subject areas could easily be applied to project-based learning initiatives while meeting SOL standards. Those who attended were able to engage in hands-on learning activities including cooking and food preparation demonstrations, soil lab experiments and recommendations on how teachers can connect students with community partners to achieve measurable learning outcomes. A follow-up survey from the training reported that 82% of attendees felt well equipped to incorporate school garden and nutrition education activities into their lesson plans while 84% plan to implement these lesson ideas during the 2017-2018 school year.

Jennifer Gardner, AP Biology teacher at Loudoun Valley High School, stated, “I really enjoyed the training and it gave me some great ideas to take back to my students.” Renae Sterling, Marketing teacher and DECA advisor at Briar Woods High School, has already started collaborating with School Nutrition to plan for her Advanced Marketing classes. Natalie Kannan, RD and In-Store Nutritionist for Giant Food stated, “This training served as a wonderful opportunity to highlight the importance of nutritious fruits and veggies, in a way that our youth can easily connect with and implement at home. From math to science, in the classroom, these activities allow for introductions to new fruits and vegetables, as well as basic cooking skills, all while reinforcing the subject matter being taught.” Carly Griffith, Associate Extension Agent was pleased to see the training incorporating 4-H curricula. “Being able to incorporate 4-H nutrition programs into our school system will help insure that our message of “pledging my health to better living” reaches youth of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles.” Snap-Ed Agent, Van Do, summarized the day with “the experience was truly enjoyable for both facilitators and participants and was a great example of a good community partnership.”

As part of the USDA Farm to School Planning Grant received by School Nutrition, all teachers who attended the training will receive the following at the beginning of the upcoming school year:
• Complete sets of the 4-H curricula used for the training
• School Nutrition will also randomly select eight participating schools to receive their choice of a composting tumbler or raised garden bed to enhance farm to school experiences for students.
• Through a partnership with the Loudoun County Health Department, all attendees will receive a hydroponic garden tower for their classrooms or designated area in their school.

For more information about School Nutrition Services or our community partners, visit www.lcpshealthycafe.org or contact Stefanie Dove at (571) 252-6502.

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Salad Science Comes to Algonkian and Selden’s Landing

Salad Science partnered with Second and Third grade students at Algonkian and Selden’s Landing Elementary schools this year. Teachers, Mary Carlson and Carrie Mock, served as the lead teachers at each of these schools to help organize the program. This program is divided into three sections, which is part of the Audubon Naturalist Society’s GreenKids program, enables students to grow their own lettuce while learning about edible parts of a plant, plant life cycles, composting, nutrition education, healthy eating, and general gardening skills.

Each phase contains a project-based learning mini-lesson that aligns with Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that incorporates a hands-on activity. Students did everything from writing journal entries where they recorded observations, made predictions on what would happen in the garden, and enhanced their math skills by charting data about the plants, weather, and precipitation. Classes were responsible for monitoring the garden beds, watering the plants, and tracking the progress of growth.

Students began the program by learning about the edible parts of a plant and planted lettuce seeds. They monitored the plans and thinned the lettuce to discuss and understand how nature recycles plant matter. The Salad Science program ended with students harvesting their lettuces where they participated in a salad party.  Students enjoyed having a taste party with the harvested lettuce along with a rainbow of healthy toppings and dressings.

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The Salad Science program not only allows students to become more empowered when it comes to understanding and growing their own food, it also instills the importance of healthy eating and trying new things. This program helps expand the Farm to School efforts by the School Nutrition Department in the district. As of December 2016, Loudoun County currently has 48% of their schools utilizing schools gardens and nutrition education activities in the classroom.

For more information about the Farm to School or School Nutrition Programs in Loudoun County, please contact Stefanie Dove, RDN at Stefanie.Dove@LCPS.org