Impact Grants to be Awarded

Foundation to Award $37,000 in Classroom Impact Grants
Posted on 07/02/2019

At its June board meeting, the Douglas County Education Foundation voted to award $37,000 in Classroom Impact Grants to teachers across all grade levels for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year. Impact Grants are competitively-awarded to teachers for innovative programs that directly serve students. Grant applications are being reviewed now by board members and community volunteers. Winners will be announced during pre-planning.

Impact Grants awarded for the recently completed school year served 9,820 students. One of those grants was for “Microgreens in the Classroom.” Douglas County High School Teacher Tanya Flynn and her honors biology students experimented with different indoor and outdoor growing methods for genetically modified seeds – GMOs – that produce microgreens. “Microgreens go from seed to harvest in six to eight weeks,” says Ms. Flynn. “They have a concentrated nutrient content, can be grown almost anywhere, and with their short growth span, may one day lessen world hunger.”

Microgreens are a relatively new crop introduction without a lot of research, but Ms. Flynn and her students are doing their part to learn more about them. Ms. Flynn’s lab is an inquiry and experimental design lab which means her budding scientists develop their own plans for different microgreen growth cycles. Most of the microgreens are grown hydroponically with students experimenting with types and amounts of light, water, nutrients, etc. “In this class, we find our own answers,” said student Magali Rivera. “It’s a really different learning experience from what we’re used to. It’s very hands on, and we create our own projects.” Students maintain detailed journals about their trials and errors and are encouraged not to worry if their growth cycle isn’t successful. “You don’t learn as much from your success as from your mistakes,” said Ms. Flynn.

Students experimented with GMO sweet peas, wheat grass, radish, broccoli, carrots, kale, and various types of lettuce. Ms. Flynn has requested another Impact Grant for the upcoming school year to add aquaponic growing methods in addition to hydroponic ones.Impact Grants are funded through gifts to the foundation, including proceeds from the annual Foundation Fun Run. For more information about the foundation and its Impact Grant program, go to www.DCEF.DCSSGA.org.

Student samples wheat grass
Rising senior Arty Leger gives wheat grass a try. Wheat grass is used frequently in smoothies.

Students with their microgreens
These students hold some of the microgreens they grew during the school year. They experimented with sweet peas, wheat grass, radish, broccoli, carrots, kale, and various types of lettuce. Ms. Flynn is pictured on the right.

Microgreens ready to eat
While microgreens taste almost the same as their non-GMO counterparts, they look different. The microgreens shown here are ready to eat.

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