Clark Creek ES STEM Academy Teacher of the Year Karen Garland works with students in the school garden last school year.
Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy has earned an award for its outstanding school garden!
The school has won the Cherokee County Farm to School Third Annual Golden Shovel Award, which includes a $100 grant. The award is presented annually by the Cherokee County Farm to School Committee, made up of local agriculture leaders and educators, to one CCSD school garden each spring.
“We’re proud of Clark Creek ES STEM Academy for this honor, as it’s another example of the school’s dedication to real-world STEM learning,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “We’re also very appreciative of the strong longtime partnership with our agriculture community including the Farm to School Committee. It’s important for students to understand where our food comes from and how to choose – and grow – healthy foods, and to learn about careers available in this industry.”
The judges cited the Clark Creek garden’s inclusivity and focus not only on STEM learning, but also on character education, as reasons for its honor.
“Students in all grades share responsibilities, making weekly visits to the garden to water, weed, and learn about the food they are growing, and to make wildlife observations. Teachers integrate standards, introduce phenomena, and allow the students to learn by doing. Additionally, the garden serves various groups of students, including a respite for students with behavioral concerns, an after-school gardening club, and as the foundation for a community-based project for the school’s food pantry,” the award announcement noted. “Lastly, it is a place that inspires stewardship and serves as a symbolic locus of school pride and spirit; students truly feel that they can identify with Clark Creek and feel proud of their individual contributions.”
The Committee also named four runners-up for the honor: Macedonia ES, second place; Cherokee HS, third place; Bascomb ES, fourth place; and Avery ES, fifth place.