Jackie, a teacher at Kelly Elementary School, wanted to connect her students with the school garden, but wasn’t sure where to start. “We have a garden at Kelly,” she said, “but not that many teachers utilize it.” In January 2016, Jackie joined Youth Grow’s Garden Education Professional Learning Community. Through the PLC, teachers work collaboratively to develop garden-based curriculum aligned with new educational standards.
Julia, Growing Gardens’ teacher outreach coordinator, says that collaboration and connection are the the biggest advantages of the professional learning community. “The PLC gives a chance for teachers to support each other and share ideas… ideas that they saw were successful at another school. So then they can say, “Oh, I can try that!” In the future, Julia hopes that every school in Portland Public Schools will have a garden education program.
As for Jackie, she’s happy with how gardening has become part of her classroom culture. “I’m excited to think about the experience [with gardening],” she said. “I can see how it can fit… throughout the entire year.”