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Horticulture and 4-H Awarded NJSBA Innovations in Special Education
Posted On:
Tuesday, June 06, 2017
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ADS’s Horticulture and 4-H program receive recognition for teaching the importance of self-sustainability.

Beginning with a couple of butterfly bushes more than nine years ago, Archbishop Damiano School’s horticulture initiative has since grown to include a 50 sq. ft. garden with 25 raised vegetable beds, a fully functional greenhouse and an aquaponics system.

As a testament to the school’s success with the initiative almost a decade later, the NJSBA and ASAH announced that Archbishop Damiano School (ADS) was one of the recipients of the Innovations for Special Education Awards for their tremendous efforts in creating “Sustainability in the Classroom.”

As a part of Special Education Week in New Jersey, the Innovations in Special Education Awards are sponsored by the New Jersey School Boards Association and ASAH to recognize exemplary programs in special education. The awards ceremony took place at The Westin in Princeton. Accepting the award was 4-H leader and Horticulture teacher Linda McHugh, accompanied by assistant principal Greg Zink.

Serving as student ambassadors, Chris and Eli talked with other schools and dignitaries about the 4-H and Horticulture programs, including State Senator President Steven Sweeney and Acting Commissioner of NJDOE Kimberley Harrington.

ADS’s Horticulture program and 4-H Club have garnered tremendous success in teaching students with special needs how to grow, harvest and prepare nutritious food right in their own backyards with a focus on recycling and repurposing.

Throughout the school year, students learn how to start seedlings, plant crops, harvest those crops, and how to prepare healthy meals in the school’s Daily Living Skills classroom. Each year, classrooms can volunteer to have a specific plot in the Not-So-Secret-Garden. While tending to the garden, students harvest herbs and vegetables from their plots.