This rural patch on Madison’s West Side is one of more than 35 school gardens around the Madison School District, including Lapham, Midvale and Crestwood Elementary schools, Badger Rock Middle School and East and West High Schools.
Although school is out for the summer, the gardens are far from empty. A network of volunteers and employees help with garden maintenance, and summer camps give students a chance to get outside. The summer camp at Spring Harbor Middle School, currently in session, hosts more than 80 students between the ages of 10 and 14 over the summer.
Getting your hands dirty
School gardens aren’t just a place for students to burn off excess energy. By getting their hands dirty outside, students are developing critical learning skills, said Dave Ropa, a science teacher at Spring Harbor and the school’s greenhouse and garden coordinator.
“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”
The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”
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