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C.W. Henry School
C.W. Henry School is a K-8 Philadelphia public school with a student body that is racially and economically diverse. 2013-2014 enrollment is currently 468 students. According to the Philadelphia School District, the demographic makeup of the school is predominantly African American (76%) and 83% of the student body is economically disadvantaged. Most Henry students live in Mt. Airy, however, many are from neighborhoods with underperforming public schools. The principal and teachers are dedicated to providing a quality education and often go above and beyond their job responsibilities. Established in the spring of 2010, the C.W. Henry School PTA has sought to put C.W. Henry students first and to provide them with a safe and attractive learning environment where we enrich their educational opportunities and support the teaching staff as best we can. In support of these goals, the PTA coordinates the School Garden Project which is turning sections of the schoolyard into outdoor learning spaces where students participate in hands-on learning. The school has active support from neighborhood residents, businesses and organizations.
"With support from the Green Schools Program, we have expanded our school garden by adding two new beds in 2011-2013 and an outdoor classroom in 2012-2013. This year we are looking for support to make improvements to the main garden site that will enhance the garden’s productivity and accessibility of the harvest. We will engage students, family members and community volunteers in building sturdy trellising systems for the established blackberry bushes and moveable trellising for seasonal tomato crops and other vegetables that will need temporary support during the growing season. In support of this effort, we will seek guidance and assistance from farm educator, David Siller, with whom we have worked during the past several years in developing the garden project. Project activities will include classroom visits to the garden during the school day and weekend volunteer sessions for Henry families and neighborhood volunteers. Since our garden club has been cut for budgetary reason, we are exploring ways to offer additional experiential sessions during the school day and on the weekends. Students will experience hands on lessons with the farm educator and adult volunteers in the garden. Lessons will include but not be limited to: garden planning, design and construction of trellising, planting seeds and starts, garden maintenance, composting, watering and harvesting. Anticipated project outcomes include: • the addition of trellising structures to improve the look and productivity of the garden; • involvement of students, parents and neighbors in the growing process; • successfully encouraging members of the school community to be proactive about healthy nutrition and sustainable growing practices; and • increasing opportunities to provide a variety of fresh produce for the students to eat during the school day. Project activities and impact will be promoted via internal school communications, the PTA’s email, website and Facebook, and through local news publications including The Shuttle and Mt. Airy Patch."