We support individual, co-laborative teachers – illuminators – we've gotten to know by highlighting their innovative work in our glob (i.e., so much more than a blog) in this section – which we call Illuminators.
An 11-year-old boy, shovel in hand, was standing in the middle of an acre plot. He had a brain storm, “Let’s make a bed in the shape of a heart!” The garden as classroom is an intriguing teaching strategy that has been cultivated by local culinary legend Alice Waters in Berkeley, California and around the country since 1995.
Edible Schoolyard (ESY) gardens are laid out by the students who tend them, not by a landscape architect so teacher Kyle Cornforth, brand new on the ESY staff, resisted informing her students that a heart shape would be a very inefﬁcient use of space. “Let them learn on their own.” She schooled herself. “Give them agency.”
Kasey Hill’s first position as a teacher was at DeValls Bluff High School, nestled in an antebellum town in rural Arkansas. DeValls Bluff, like so many little towns in America, was withering away. The railroad, once the lifeblood of the town, no longer stopped there. Jobs became few, drug and alcohol use grew. The people who could get out, got out, and those who stayed went on welfare. The town was stuck in a self perpetuating negative lifestyle loop.
“Clara.” We asked, “Should a person be thrown in jail for stealing a quart of milk? What if she stole it because she was broke and her kids needed it?” Clara replied, “If the mom goes to jail, her children will suffer. Can’t she do community service? She could be paid in milk?” Clara is a fifth grader attending public school in the richly complex neighborhood of Clinton Hill in Brooklyn, New York. We can only hope a criminal court judge, many times her senior, would be as wise. Children see the world so simply. And in their clarity they can get to ethical solutions without the distractions of hardened opinions to which adults cling.