The APS Education Foundation is a non-profit for Albuquerque Public Schools. They partner with the community to invest in innovative and enhanced learning opportunities that help APS students reach their full potential. The grants they award go towards innovative and creative academic projects, programs, and clubs.
Wilson Middle School’s gardening program “Growing into the Future” is taking students outside of the classroom and having them get their hands dirty, all while learning how to grow their own food.
“The program started about 10 years ago, in an empty lot and the kids were out there picking up garbage, cleaning things up and spent a lot of time working on the soil and making it productive,” says teacher, Susan Schipull.
Over time, the lot where it all began has grown to over half an acre and includes a pollinator and a vegetable side of the garden.
Recently, the APS Education Foundation awarded the “Growing into the Future” a grant to contiue to further their work and enchance the experience.
“So, with the APS Foundation money we were able to expand the opportunities we have for students and so we are going to be inviting students from the feeder elementary schools to come out to the Wilson garden to work with the older students. And they’ll be able to grow their own plants. We’ll get them going with starter plants that they can take back that they can put in their gardens at their school,” says Schipull, “So what we are really looking for is a way to have those gardens opening at the elementary level, they move into the middle school and eventually into the high school and be able to continue that process because it really is a great career opportunity for students.”
“Everybody’s kind of got their own joy in the garden. When you really see the kids interact with the plants, and they’re just like, see the fruits of their labor, it’s really special for them,” says Wilson Middle School teacher, Eric McCracken
Each year, the APS Education Foundation recognizes three outstanding teachers, the ‘Best in Class’ and their program’s impact and sustainability of their ideas.