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Community Gardening Taught in TN Model School

  • Subject: [cg] Community Gardening Taught in TN Model School
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 08:07:02 EST


I thought you might find this article interesting - a US  Museum Magnet 
School which includes "community gardnening," as a study area. 

Best wishes, 
Adam Honigman
Clinton Community Garden, NYC

Normal Park Museum Magnet Serves As School Model
posted March 10, 2005

Normal Park Museum Magnet is hosting a series of national and international 
school visitors in March, all coming to the school to learn more about its 
unique partnerships with multiple area museums, its "Understanding by Design" 
learning concepts, and its exhibit-building curriculum techniques.

School administrators and teachers from Quebec, Canada will be at Normal Park 
on Monday and Tuesday, March 14 and 15. A similar group from Miami, Fla. will 
visit on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 15 and 16. Both sets of visitors will 
also tour Chattanooga Middle School. 

The school hosted visitors from Springfield, Ma. and Catoosa County, Ga. 
school systems earlier this month.


"As one of only a few K-5 museum magnet schools in the county, Normal Park is 
quickly becoming a national model of success, and our concepts and curriculum 
techniques are being noticed and emulated by other school systems," said 
Principal Jill Levine. 

Like the Massachusetts visitors before them, the Miami visitors to Normal 
Park will be here to learn more about the museum magnet concept and the unique, 
multiple-museum partnerships that Normal Park has made, said Ms. Levine. The 
Miami school system has qualified for a federal grant with which to develop 
their own museum magnet school, and they are hoping to learn from what Normal Park 
has done so successfully.

"While some museum magnet schools are affiliated with only one museum -- and 
may even be co-located with that museum -- we partner with multiple museums 
that act as satellite classrooms for our specific curriculum topics during each 
nine weeks of study," said Ms. Levine. "We're pleased to see other school 
systems - like those in Miami and Massachusetts -- take note of the success of 
this model, and want to learn how to make it a part of their own school systems."

The Canadian visitors are also seeking to learn from the success of the 
Normal Park model, and are specifically interested in the school's "Understanding 
by Design" teaching techniques. The program emphasizes modular teaching 
techniques incorporating hands-on learning and exhibit-building by students as a way 
for teachers to assess and measure the students' understanding of core 

"Normal Park teaches science and social studies for all grade levels through 
modules designed and implemented using Understanding by Design (UbD) 
concepts," said Joyce Tatum, Normal Park's Museum Liaison and a national Understanding 
by Design consultant. "After Normal Park teachers made presentations at the 
national Understanding by Design conference this past summer in San Diego, 
several school systems have sent teams to observe at our school in order to improve 
their own programs or to make a decision about using Understanding by Design 

While visiting Normal Park, the visitors from both Florida and Canada will 
attend the school's scheduled "Worlds of Wonder" Exhibit Night on March 15, at 
which students' work from the past nine weeks of study will be displayed and 
presented. Both will also create their own exhibits about Normal Park based on 
what they learn about the school. The exhibits they build will be shipped back 
to their home cities for others to see and learn from.

"Our school is just in its third year of operation, so having representatives 
from these other school systems from across the continent want to use us as a 
model for their own schools and curriculum plans is a great honor," said Ms. 
Levine. "It speaks so well of the strong national reputation that Normal Park 
has built, and for that, I thank our teachers and administrators, our parents, 
and our partnering museums."

Normal Park Museum Magnet partners with seven area museums to bring a fresh, 
dynamic approach to learning. The school's museum partners include Tennessee 
Aquarium, Chattanooga African American Museum, Hunter Museum of American Art, 
Chattanooga Regional History Museum, Creative Discovery Museum, Chattanooga 
Nature Center and Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. Curriculum focuses on 
multi-disciplinary approach and offers related arts programs in visual and performing 
arts, Spanish, music, science, community gardening and physical education. 

The school, in its third year as a museum magnet, serves neighborhood 
children and a growing number of students from throughout the Chattanooga area. The 
school has historic roots in the community. It was originally a prestigious 
private college at the turn of the century, and it has as alumni many notable 
area civic and business leaders.

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org

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