Cool Schools: Blackburn Middle School

Cool Schools

Blackburn Middle School gets a green “thumbs up” for taking lessons plans to the garden.

Sixth grader Amariye Ledbetter wouldn’t use the phrase “getting your hands dirty” when describing their learning garden. “I would use the phrase helping plants.”

She and her classmates have taken pride in the work they’ve done in the garden outside Blackburn. The Garden allows teachers to incorporate lessons into hands on  projects.

“With my science lessons, we learn things as far as the ecosystems, food webs, abiotic and biotic factors. And we use those real world experiences in the garden so my students can understand the strategies,” teacher Belon Jones said.

Done in partnership with Jackson State University and other community members, the learning garden has been a place where students can see the fruits — or vegetables of their labor. And now that it’s time to harvest, the farm to fork initiative can bloom.

So what did they do with the greens?

“We asked the students, and they replied they wanted to have a greens cook-off,” Heather Wilcox said.

Wilcox works with Jackson State’s Center for University Development and Community Engagement. She says they teamed up with community leaders like Patty Patterson to bring the garden together at Blackburn.

And they also had a hand in organizing the inaugural cook-off.

Students solicited recipes from family members. “And we have one or two participants that are not even parents. They are just in the community. So it’s the whole total community engagement that centers around education,” Patterson said.

And no matter the recipe, the greens were sure to please the judges. Because they were grown with love.


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