Teacher Corps member helps Nixa school’s greenhouse flourish

Sometimes a plan comes together so perfectly, you think it must have been meticulously mapped Check closeand executed. Other times, all it takes is one educator and one e-mail. And that’s how several of the Rural Schools Partnership’s key initiatives converged early in the fall 2015 semester at Nixa’s John Thomas School of Discovery (JTSD), a technology-centered elementary building in the Nixa R-II Public School District.

Hannah Ramsey, a senior at Missouri State University and a member of the 2014 class of the Ozarks Teacher Corps, is a teaching apprentice (not a student teacher, but more on that later) to sixth-grade teacher Tracy Harris. Since last spring, the sixth-grade classes of Harris, Chris Holmes and Ryan Mahn have been working to establish a school greenhouse. The setup already includes a greenhouse tent with cinderblock walls, raised beds with tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, basil and mums, and rain barrels that collect runoff from the building’s roof.

The goal is to establish a farmers market at the school and provide fresh produce to the cafeteria. Educationally, the project is just one example of a school-wide effort to make science a visceral, hands-on experience. In another example, sixth-grade classes make and sell their own lip balms when studying mixtures and solutions.

Funded largely by grants, the greenhouse has been a hit at the school and with students in its first six months, but with winter approaching, sustainability became an issue. That’s where Hannah comes in. Read the rest of this entry »

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Students, educator share stories of 2015 GLADE camp

Digging Cane WEBOne of the more exciting student-immersion programs in the Ozarks is GLADE, sponsored by the Greater Ozarks Audubon Society, which takes ecology-minded high schoolers out into the hills of Taney County to work, study and play for a week each summer.

One of the leaders and founders of GLADE, Dr. Janice Greene from Missouri State University, and some students who attended the 2015 GLADE camp, recently shared their stories with KSMU.

Background from the story, which you can listen to online here:

Each summer, Missouri State University and the Greater Ozarks Audubon Society host the Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems or (GLADE) program at Bull Shoals Field Station.

This June, 15 conservation-oriented high school students participated in this week-long residential summer camp.

The mission of GLADE is to provide students with the knowledge and skills for the care of Ozarks ecosystems, restore critical habitat for endangered species in Missouri, develop informed community leaders and inspire students to develop environmental projects in their own communities.

(Pictured: GLADE students re-plant native river cane in June 2014)

RSP aligns with Rural Schools Collaborative, regional teachers receive grants

We’re so pleased to be working closely again on rural education issues with our former president, Dr. Gary Funk, who now heads the Rural Schools Collaborative. Funk, who led the creation of ourRural Schools Partnership program, is working on a larger scale across the Midwest in particular, as today’s column in the Springfield News-Leader details. Rural education needs all the advocates it can get, and we’re convinced that an alliance between the two programs will be a great resource for students, educators, administrators, education foundation leaders and others committed to maintaining strong rural schools.