Demonstrating School District Success

Below are 2016-17 academic year highlights for Districts in Action participants in Henry County Schools, GA. Districts in Action supports and enhances district-determined strategic priorities, creating whole district transformation to ensure the sustainability of service-learning ­— an instructional practice that achieves measurable academic and civic outcomes through the development of cognitive critical thinking skills necessary for college, career, and civic life. Henry County Schools serve 42,000 students across 50 schools.

Locust Grove High School

Agriculture Science students in Ms. Brown’s class investigated hunger in the community. Students partnered with Two Rivers Resource Conservation and Development Council to get a new High Tunnel greenhouse, learn techniques to cultivate different types of lettuce through hands-on experience in the High Tunnel, and teach community members how to harvest lettuce. The lettuce was donated to members of the school community and to a local food bank.

Academy for Advanced Studies

A team of eight students in Ms. Burns’ 3D Solid Modeling Pathway designed eight different developmentally-appropriate sensory therapy toys to aid children with sensory processing disorders. They partnered with a local organization, SenseAbilities, to investigate sensory disorders and will donate their toys to the organization once they are printed with the school’s 3D printer.

Students in the Electronics Pathway with Dr. Webb investigated the energy used when students plug their cell phone chargers into school building outlets. They partnered with Georgia Power to conduct an energy audit and learn more about how much energy and money it costs to charge cell phones. Students presented a representative from Georgia Power with a gift at their project demonstration.

Henry County Middle School

Band students in Ms. Burgess’ class investigated how music can be used to help people through music therapy. Although they were not able to visit a nursing home like they had planned, the students explained about music therapy, how it would benefit a nursing home community, and how they plan to visit a nursing home next year.

Bethlehem Elementary

First grade students in Ms. Smith and Ms. Johnson’s classes learned about how animals and plants have similar needs. Students partnered with Noah’s Ark, a local animal sanctuary, researched the animals that are served there, and chose different animals to help. One student said, “We realized we could serve by helping animals.” Students advertised for and collected donations to bring to Noah’s Ark. When asked about how they felt about helping the animals, one student said, “I felt happy. I liked feeding them and having fun with them. They [Noah’s Ark] help animals with injuries or else they [the injured animals] would end up in a pound and that’s not good.” Another student said, “I like how the animals have space to do what they want [at Noah’s Ark].”

EXCEL Academy

The 6th grade students at EXCEL Academy worked with Ms. Johnson (science), Mr. Denson (social studies), and Ms. Halbig (the school’s social worker) to investigate issues of hunger and poor nutrition in their school community by writing and distributing a survey to students in the EXCEL Academy community and analyzing the results. Students learned about life cycles of plants, chose vegetables to cultivate, germinated the vegetables from seeds, and transferred the seedlings outside to the school garden — all before the end of the school year. They plan to continue growing the vegetables they planted in their school garden and want the garden to be an ongoing service-learning project in future years.