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Wesley International Academy Is Growing

Photo by Shannon Sanders
By Deron Davis and Shannon Sanders
When we send our kids to school, we want them to be nurtured and to grow — academically and socially. What happens when a school gives students the opportunity to be nurturing by turning soil, preparing beds, planting vegetables, tending gardens, and harvesting crops? Research indicates that the students grow and perform better on standardized tests.
This year Wesley International Academy (WIA); through a dedicated group of parents, teachers, and administrators; pledged to be a Georgia Green & Healthy School, a Georgia Department of Natural Resources program, ( The WIA Green & Healthy School Initiative (GHS) provides our students a greener, healthier environment at school and beyond. The GHS team hired a Gardener-in-Residence, Joel Gerber, who works with students and teachers on gardening projects two days a week.
Additionally, the GHS team developed classroom guidelines for healthy snacks and parties, and celebrated America Recycles Day to demonstrate and promote better waste disposal. This spring, the team will host an Earth Day event designed to showcase environment and nutrition projects created by each grade level. Students will take a walking tour of the school to learn about the other grades’ projects and “celebrity” judges will visit to thank students for their commitment. The day will end with an environmental-themed pep rally.
Wesley International Academy is dedicated to supporting teachers as they integrate environmental and nutritional themes into the curriculum. Teachers received state standards-based “green and healthy” lesson plans and participated in various training, from techniques for teaching outdoors to organic gardening, yoga, and nutrition.
Students at WIA are looking forward to another green and healthy school year in 2011-2012. The GHS team will kick it off by briefing teachers and administrators during summer pre-planning.

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