Publication Date

2010

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Karen Blanchard

Abstract

This paper contains the findings from a Needs Assessment conducted during the 2009-2010 school year at Sherrod Elementary in Palmer, Alaska, USA. The researcher wanted to know how the teaching of the Farm Education classes, conducted by AmeriCorps Volunteers, at the elementary school could be changed to better suit the needs of the school and the AmeriCorps Volunteer. This Needs Assessment was also conducted to ascertain the value of the Farm Education to teachers and students at Sherrod Elementary. The AmeriCorps Volunteer is allocated to Sherrod Elementary through Spring Creek Farm, Alaska Pacific University.

I found that this program is highly valued by the 3rd grade students surveyed for this Needs Assessment, moderately valued by the teachers and highly valued by Spring Creek Farm and the AmeriCorps Members. The students were very positive about the experiential lessons taught during Farm Education time each week; their favorite subject was worm composting. The majority of the students surveyed for this Needs Assessment stated that they would like to spend time at Spring Creek Farm on field trips and with animals. This seemed to be an overwhelming sentiment expressed by the 3rd graders. Teachers valued the program as it currently stands with an AmeriCorps Volunteer as the direct service provider, teaching the lessons in the classroom but not as something they would have to teach.

In conclusion, this is a valuable tool for future AmeriCorps members at Spring Creek Farm and for anyone who is thinking about starting a school garden. Start growing today!!

Disciplines

Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research

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