Grow Education in New Bedford
It is our observation that the New Bedford community is ready for inspirational and creative solutions to a long standing challenging education system. Having a presence in Hayden McFadden Elementary school for the past two years through the Sustainability Education Initiative (former program name), has been an enlightening experience to gain inside perspective of the education system. When discussing the public schools people are often overwhelmed by the word “failing” and have difficulty seeing the potential that lies in existing outstanding teachers. Although Hayden McFadden is labeled a “failing school”, this does not reflect the quality of all the teachers or the state of all public schools in the district. After we conducted a pilot program with the 1st grade at Hayden McFadden, we concluded that teachers are concerned, exhausted and desired educational reform. The consensus among the staff at Hayden McFadden was that an increase in resources and support given to teachers, families and staff is critical.
Our approach to improve the status of schools, enhance family engagement and empower the community as a whole is through production and consumption of food. Food has been a proven method of bringing people together; from a family dinner to organizing African American voters. In today’s world, a likely hub for families and civic engagement in the community are the public schools. The public school system is an ideal location for systemic change to cultivate and inspire connections to the food we eat and to each other.
Grow Education seeks to create edible school gardens through out New Bedford public schools, resulting in increased access for students and families to nutritious local food. We hope to reach our goal through the empowerment of teachers through individual attention,trainings and establishing a relationship between the public school systems and community resources.