By GreatSchools Staff
Chris is the mom of three boys. Her oldest son, Jack, was in third grade when Chris became involved with gardening at Commodore Sloat. Chris is a former chef and cookbook collaborator. She currently works with Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.
In the fall of 2000, there was a neglected, unused courtyard at Commodore Sloat Elementary filled with dead trees, weeds and rock-hard dirt. A few teachers had created small container gardens with their classes, and they wanted to turn the unattractive courtyard into a larger school garden.
Four teachers approached Chris during the 2000-2001 school year and asked if she would lead an effort to turn the courtyard wasteland into a school learning garden. Chris loved organic gardening and agreed to take on the project. She began by evaluating the space and considering what needed to be done. She visited other school gardens and met with the school district landscape and plumbing department to get buy-in for the project. She also helped organize a Learning Garden Steering Committee made up of interested teachers and parents.
That summer, Chris and a group of parents met for the first "Green Up Clean Up" work day and broke ground. The PTA provided $2500 for a drip irrigation system to water the garden during school breaks. Chris solicited donations of many garden essentials, including seeds, tools and lumber, from local businesses. She also led fundraising efforts and applied for grants to support the garden. Work on the garden continued throughout the 2001-2002 school year.
During the 2002-2003 school year, classes began working in the garden and teachers began using garden-related activities in the classroom. Chris donated many hours of her time working with classes in the garden and helping teachers integrate the garden into their teaching. In recent years, representatives from Commodore Sloat attended green school conferences, one teacher started a school-wide composting program, the school received a grant that enabled it to buy a green house, and parents raised enough money to hire a paid garden coordinator to work with teachers and students. The garden has become an important focus for the school.
Chris and the other parents on the Garden Steering Committee involve more parents in the physical work of creating and maintaining the garden by holding several "Green Up Clean Up" days each year. It is a fun day where several families come on a weekend day to spruce up the school and work in the garden. The first year, parents helped clear the dead plants from the courtyard, build retaining walls, and improve the soil.
Because the idea for the garden originated with teachers, the project had a good deal of school support from the beginning. Some teachers, however, were not sure what to do with their students in the garden and already felt there were too many activities taking away from instructional time. Chris overcame this hesitation by working directly with the teachers and their classes in the garden, and researching ways to integrate the garden into the curriculum. As the teachers saw how much their students loved the garden and how it could reinforce learning, they became much more involved and enthusiastic. Chris notes that it was important to listen to the teachers to see how they wanted to use the garden with their classes and provide manpower to help the teachers so that the garden was not an additional burden.
Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you more
insights to help you help your child succeed.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.