Sto-Rox students will have opportunities to grow vegetables in class and begin their day with mindful music exercises when they return to school, thanks to two new programs in the works.
During the June 24 school board meeting, directors approved programming with the Pittsburgh Symphony and gardening advocacy group Grow Pittsburgh, setting both in motion for the fall.
The district will be working in partnership with the Pittsburgh Symphony to bring music-themed mindfulness sessions to the Sto-Rox community.
Michael Amick, curriculum director, said the sessions will be held each morning to help students in grades K-12 prepare for the day ahead
Listening exercises will be combined with breathing techniques in a blend of in-class and app-based programming. “It’s a way to give students more exposure to the arts and new instruments,” Amick said.
In addition to helping build and maintain gardens on the high school grounds, the Grow Pittsburgh programming will integrate growing and cooking techniques into a traditional classroom setting.
Amick said the programming is initially limited to the high school building, but leaves open the opportunity to expand to the elementary and middle schools in future years.
Based in Pittsburgh’s Larimer neighborhood, Grow Pittsburgh is a non-profit that provides a variety of programming and services to support urban gardening throughout the region.
The program is funded through Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit program.
Also during the meeting, directors approved a $10,000 annual pledge from Stowe-based Standard Forged Products to develop the district’s STEAM program.
STEAM is about helping students develop vocational skills in science, technology, engineering, art and math by immersing them in real-life scenarios.
Amick said the money pledged by Standard Forged will add to existing funding earmarked for STEAM, and identified 3D printers as one of the first uses for the funding.
“[Standard Forge is] a multi-million dollar company and they’re looking to invest in schools,” said Michael Amick, curriculum director. “There’s really no downside.”