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New green growth at Clark: the Common School Partnership

The word growth in high school tends to be associated with mental and personal growth, but it’s taking on even more meaning through a new class offering at Clark. It’s official registered title is “Common School Partnership,” and called “Gardening” by the students.

Ms. Thayer teaches AP Spanish in room 432 and began teaching Gardening during eighth period. Students plant vegetables such as green beans, water melon, dill and fennel in the garden outside Mr. Bean’s room. They observe how these plants grow, logging them in notebooks at the beginning of every class. One of the class projects is to create a presentation on a vegetable in the world; they then discuss the process by which the vegetable is grown and the conditions it favors.

This class also teaches skills outside of gardening, such as communication. “The class is about forty kids,” says Thayer. “There’s general education students and special education students as well.”

Living in a desert, one wouldn’t expect much besides cacti to grow here, but Ms. Thayer says “Nevada is a food desert. It is a desert, but it’s a food desert. It is hard to grow stuff here, but it is doable.”

“We’re doing something that not a lot of schools are doing,” says senior Savannah Ellmore.

“It’s taught me a lot of things about agriculture. Did you know that if you plant onions, they can deter aphids away from the rest of the garden?”

Ms. Thayer has even arranged for a farmer to visit the class, and to teach horticulture and gardening techniques from time to time.

“He taught us how how to make a bug spray that was environmentally friendly, without chemicals, only using all-natural oils,” says Ellmore.”We also learn about permaculture, which is basically plants helping each other out to grow. So if you plant one thing, it can often benefit another plant.”

Even though it is new to the school, Gardening class is already making an impact on students.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for this school to benefit its students,” says junior Luis Melchor. “It teaches them something that’s kind of a lost art in today’s society.”

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