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Wednesday, October 16, 2013
State and local education officials gathered at James Madison Middle School in Roanoke on Tuesday to break ground on a new garden learning center.
The center is part of the Food for Thought: Edible Education Partnership program at the school.
The collaboration involving the city, school system, Virginia Western Community College and various local groups works to address hunger, poor health, obesity and poverty. Food for Thought teaches students about healthy foods, the environment and the impact of their personal choices.
Madison Principal Stephanie Hogan told the crowd at Tuesday’s event not to look at this as just a garden.
“Look at it as a live laboratory,” she said. “They are experimenting and learning about so many different things.”
As part of the Food for Thought program, students will learn about agriculture, ecology and nutrition, all through hands-on activities.
Cynthia Lawrence, founding chair of Food for Thought and a driving force behind the project, said society is faced with the reality of caring for generations who have made bad choices. For example, she said chronic diseases cost the country billions of dollars each year.
“Education is the key,” she said. “That’s why we’re doing this.”
Lawrence said the project at Madison cost about $170,000 in addition to donations of services. She said officials want to raise an additional $400,000 to place similar garden learning centers at the remaining city middle schools.
In addition to local officials, including Superintendent Rita Bishop and several school board members, Secretary of Education Laura Fornash and Secretary of Agriculture Todd Haymore also attended the event.
“It’s just tremendous to see what happens when a community comes together,” Fornash said.
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The Virginia Consortium of Social Studies Supervisors and College Educators plans to hold its annual Virginia Council for the Social Studies conference in Roanoke next month.
The event is scheduled for Nov. 1 at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center. According to information from the statewide group, the organization is expected to issue a statement on social studies education at the conference.
The statement will recommend a particular approach to social studies education when it comes to curriculum, instruction and assessment, according to information from the group.
The organization consists of social studies curriculum and instructional experts. For more information, visit https://sites.google.com/site/vcsssce/.
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Salem High School teacher Laura O’Dell has earned the Gold Star Teacher Award from Working In Support of Education or W!SE.
O’Dell, a business and marketing teacher, was recognized last week by the Salem School Board for the honor.
The distinction is given to teachers whose students had a pass rate of at least 90 percent on the W!SE financial literacy certification exam.
O’Dell joins two Roanoke educators who also achieved the honor. They are among 180 educators nationwide to be recognized.
W!SE is a nonprofit that creates programs for financial literacy and college and workplace readiness.
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The Roanoke School Board recently recognized 11 students who made perfect scores on all of their Standards of Learning tests.
The students from Highland Park Elementary, James Madison Middle, Stonewall Jackson Middle, Patrick Henry High and William Fleming High schools all made perfect scores when they took the tests in the spring.
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Burton Center for Arts and Technology teacher Sherri Rickman was recently honored for winning the Jobs for Virginia Graduates national award.
The Roanoke County School Board recognized Rickman during a meeting last week. She is a mass communications teacher at the school.
Jobs for Virginia Graduates, which restarted in Virginia in 1997, is a nonprofit that helps at-risk students graduate high school and transition into the work force.
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