PSBA Bulletin Special Conference Issue - Page 18

Great things are happening in public schools .
Mentoring program connects school safety officers and students
The School District of Philadelphia ’ s Office of Strategic Partnerships ( OSP ), and the Office of School Safety ( OSS ) have expanded their L . E . A . D . ( Leaders Encouraging Achievement & Development ) mentoring program , an effort designed to help support the needs of young Black males through positive engagement with Black adult males .
Launched at E . Washington Rhodes Middle School and Hamilton Disston Elementary School , the pilot program partners district school safety officers with students at each school . The program has recently expanded , adding nine volunteer mentors to serve students at Benjamin B . Comegys and Rudolph Blankenburg elementary schools . The L . E . A . D . program will also include its first pilot with female students , providing a mentoring opportunity for female officers to work with students .
The initiative was created to strengthen intergenerational relationships among Black men and boys , equip Black boys with the life skills necessary for success and inspire and empower Black boys to both believe in themselves and maximize their full potential .
Mentors will conduct hour-long sessions each week with a small group of middle school students and engage the students on a variety of topics using nationally recognized best practice standards based on research , experience and evidence of positive outcomes .
Keystone Central Farm to School program
Two Keystone Central Career and Technical Center ( CTC ) programs , Natural Resource Management and the Culinary Arts , along with Keystone Central School District ’ s ( KCSD ) Food and Nutrition Service Department , are collaborating in a Farm to School Leadership Team that was awarded a $ 50,000 Farm-to-School Planning Grant from the U . S . Department of Agriculture .
Students and staff are beginning to solidify plans for integrating fresh fruits and vegetables for use first in the district ’ s Summer Feeding Program , and eventually will integrate this model into the National School Breakfast and National School Lunch programs ’ menus . Project activities include piloting fresh food elements in KCSD ’ s Agriculture Program by rehabbing the existing greenhouse at Central Mountain High School , visiting other districts to explore best practices , and working with local farmers to increase daily access to fresh , healthy foods among KCSD students .
An aquaponics system is being established in the CTC greenhouse . This system combines the production of fish through aquaculture and the hydroponic production of plants into one system , allowing growers to take advantage of the natural biological functions of fish and plants .
Through this process , students will participate in learning activities that will highlight the need for an understanding of crop production , plant genetics , animal breeding , nutrient management , and the ins and outs associated with this type of agriculture . Once established , the system will be managed and maintained by students in the Natural Resource Management Program and Ag Production Program . The system will provide years of teaching opportunities , which will integrate hands-on experiences with classroom instruction in biological and agricultural systems .
16 PSBA Bulletin Special Conference Issue 2021