If Brooklyn Elementary School students and staff keep it up, the school’s gardens will start rivaling the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s.
The school was awarded a $2,000 Healthy Schools Grant by the Mission: Healthy Kids program, a partnership of Children’s Wisconsin and Kohl’s Care. This is the second healthy schools award for Brooklyn during this school year.
The money will be used to help purchase materials for mini hoop houses — greenhouses — for the school’s garden beds, BKE administrative intern Anna Seidensticker wrote in an email to the Observer last week. Students and volunteers are set to start hoop house construction and planting later this month.
She said adding the hoop houses allow classes to extend growing seasons, both by planting earlier in the spring, and in the fall when students get back to school.
BKE, which applied to further their work in the areas of nutrition and physical activity, is one of only 25 Wisconsin schools to receive such a grant this year, according to a Feb. 19 Children’s Wisconsin news release.
The program promotes policy, systems and environmental changes in schools that improve school community health, specifically in the areas of nutrition, physical activity and healthy minds, the news release states.
The grants are coordinatedwith the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the Wisconsin School Health/WSCC award program and designed to help support work surrounding a school’s identified improvement area.
Children’s Wisconsin spokesperson Sara Silver-Traband said to be chosen, schools first had to complete an Action for Healthy Kids survey and supplemental questions from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
“By going through this process, schools were able to see where gaps may be in school health and steps they could take toward addressing the gap in the specific areas of physical activity, nutrition and mindfulness,” she wrote the Observer in an email.
Schools were then asked to create an action plan, select a student-run initiative and plan a budget and timeline that explained their usage of the grant funds.
In December, BKE was honored by the Healthy Kids Collaborative of Dane County with a “Silver” certification in its Healthy Kids Healthy Schools awards, with its Movement Class and “Mindful Minute” were featured in a video at the Dec. 5 awards ceremony. Officials from the county program later visited the school to learn more about some of the programs designed to increase cooperation and improve focus while having fun.
In 2018, Brooklyn Elementary was named a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School, acknowledging its commitment to sustainable practices and leadership in facilities, health and environmental education. The school was nominated by then-Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, now governor.