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Class Notes: Mount Vernon Exploratory School receives garden grant
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Students at Mount Vernon Exploratory School will be receiving garden lessons, thanks to a recent grant applied for by the school’s media specialist, Kristi Crumpton.

The school received funds from the Captain Planet Foundation’s Project Learning Garden Program. The program includes garden installation or revitalization, three lessons tied to Georgia Performance Standards for each grade level, professional development workshops for teachers and an outdoor classroom kit.

One teacher per grade level at the school will attend a full-day workshop to learn more about how the garden can be useful in the classroom.

The program encourages teachers to engage their students in multiple harvests per year as well as food preparation activities. It is an opportunity for lessons in healthy taste-testing.

The school will also work with the Captain Planet Foundation, an Atlanta-based organization founded by Ted Turner to support high-quality environmental youth projects, to develop a sustainability plan for continued garden-based learning beyond the grant agreement, which lasts three years.

Piedmont College students participate in disaster drill

Students at Piedmont College celebrated April Fool’s Day with a mock disaster. But there was no fooling around.

Wednesday, April 1 marked the college’s annual disaster drill, which included nursing students from the Demorest and Athens campuses, plus help from Habersham County Medical Center and area emergency agencies.

Nearly 60 junior student nurses acted as victims of a gas tank explosion. The exercise was so elaborate, the college’s theater department even participated — they helped with special effects, covering the victims with burns and wounds.

In the drill, the approximately 60 senior student nurses assessed, triaged and dressed the victims and transported them to Habersham County Medical Center, where the drill continued.

Jerry Wise, chief executive officer at Habersham County Medical Center, said the drill was a great test for the students and a good exercise of the hospital’s full capabilities and disaster management.

Linda Scott, dean of the Piedmont School of Nursing, said disaster drills teach students to focus on what is important.

“They learn to block out external stimuli, like the screaming, the lights, the sirens and the smoke,” she said. “They learn that not everyone who screams needs to be treated first.”

Fourth-graders to receive copies of US Constitution

Georgia fourth-graders will soon have an easier time learning about the U.S. Constitution.

The Georgia American Legion recently donated $10,000 to help State School Superintendent Richard Woods and the Georgia Department of Education provide pocket copies of the constitution to each of the more than 120,000 fourth-graders in Georgia.

The project will be funded entirely by donation and no taxpayer funds will be used to purchase or distribute the constitutions.

“I am so grateful to the American Legion of Georgia for recognizing the importance of this project and helping us bring it to life.” Woods said. “I have a concern for our nation that our young people need to know and understand what our veterans fought for — our freedom. They need to know about the greatness of America and the importance of sacrifice. The Constitution is the bedrock of our beliefs and values as a country — understand it, study its words, and you understand why those sacrifices are made.”

Woods said, as a former social studies teacher, knowing every fourth-grader will be able to carry those words with them, “literally and figuratively,” is a great thing.

To fully-fund the project, donations are still needed and can be made, tax-deductible, to the Georgia Foundation for Public Education by sending a check designated to Pocket Constitutions.

Kristen Oliver covers education issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her: