Saturday, September 8, 2012

Westward Ho!

As you know, the first theme for all 88 Summers-Knoll students is Farm-to-Table.

Here is a small boarding school, Scattergood Friends, located in eastern Iowa, whose curriculum engages this theme every year--because the school runs a farm right there on the property.


Joanna Hastings and I were fortunate enough to serve on an evaluative team at this fascinating school this past spring. One of our central points in the assessment of Scattergood was that the food was fantastic. I wrote in the report summary that the school kitchen was probably one of the best restaurants in Iowa.


Well, Summers-Knoll middle schoolers are about to experience that restaurant first-hand. Since our theme of study is about how food gets from the ground to the dinner menu, what better way to explore than to witness, work, enjoy, and assess that process at an institution whose raison d'etre, in part, is to do exactly that, and to explore it with secondary students?


With the enthusiastic support of Scattergood's Head of School, Christine Ashley; Academic Dean, Nicole Wolf-Camplin; and Farm Manager, Dana Foster, SK grades 6, 7 and 8 will hop on the SK bus with me and head out to Scattergood. The trip will take place either on September 26-28 or October 3-5.


Students will stay with me at the school's guest building, Berquist House (1:22 in the video below). It's about a seven-hour drive from Ann Arbor to West Branch. We will be hashing out the details of the schedule and the SK agenda as we hone our project questions over the next week. For example, an SK student who wants to know more about the domestication of animals might work with the livestock manager. A student who wants to explore the preservation of food can review the school's storage facilities. If cooking is the key topic for another student, he or she can serve with the chefs and the rotating kitchen crew.


This promises to be a memorable experience for this group and a vivid opportunity to get deep into these themes in a real hurry. More details are forthcoming this week, and, as always, I am permanently available for questions.

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