Academic Leadership Community School

Gardening and Growing Together

The students at ALC have been putting a lot of work in to their garden and it is starting to pay off! The students have made progress on creating a pathway. The goal is to put some type of brick or pavers down maybe put in some DG to create a nice flow in and…

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Small Steps, Giant Leaps

The garden at ALC is under full Renovation. After clearing, designing, crafting and building (and waiting for the heat waves to pass) this coming Tuesday the garden is ready for planting!! What was once support for summer tomatoes to grow is now going to be used to have winter peas climb Trying out a different…

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Planning for a mural at ALC garden

At the start of class, we spent time designing a mural to be approved by administration to paint on the wall adjacent to the garden. One idea we liked was to have the mural in the perspective of an insect, having a drawing of large plants so that they would be bigger than the people…

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Planning for the Future

At ALC we have been working on creating a concept design for our garden space. In class, we took advantage of having in class laptops and got to researching. The students were to look up different design concepts to create their dream garden. The two focus areas of the day were to look for vertical…

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Beautifying the ALC Garden

The past two weeks students have been hard at work cleaning up the garden at ALCMC! On the to do list we have clearing out weeds, getting rid of last seasons over grown crops, revamping the compost pile, fixing old signage and adding new signs. After putting some hard work in the garden everyone looks…

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Getting Student Ready at Miguel Contreras

Our garden under the gaze of downtown has loved this summer heat! It is very lush and full. Today we spent the day clearing, getting ready for the students to return and our fall planting. We can’t wait for the students to see how well their garden has done over summer break. And, we are…

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ALCMC – Spring Showcase

Hello Garden Friends, I am so proud of my students. They were on time, well-prepared, and spoke with passion to their fellow students – representing their garden and the hard work that they and the rest of their classmates had put in this year. As you can see in the featured photo, the students lined…

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ALCMC – Practice Makes Perfect

Hello Garden Friends, The final countdown begins and next week is the big showcase! Today we finished up our powerpoint slides and even got around to practicing the performance for one another. I’m so proud of these students, it was really heartwarming to look back on our progress and hear what they remember about the experience.…

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ALCMC – Spring Showcase Prep

Hello Garden Friends, Not much to write about this week. We spent all the class period working on our group presentations.. I fear we are still not ready – only time will tell. Getting humans to work together is never easy. Getting humans that have special needs, speak different languages, and come and go throughout the…

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ALCMC – Herb Bouquets

Hello Garden Friends, Yesterday at Miguel Contreras we spent most of the class time preparing ourselves for the May 24th Spring showcase – talking about all of the things we did over the past year and which activities our participants would enjoy the most. Not to give too much away but we decided we would…

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ALCMC – Cleanup for Dinner

Hello Garden Friends, This week at ALCMC I had lots of extra students that Mr. Herrmann sent my way. At the end of the year it seems that everyone needs to hurry up and complete their hours. Anyhow, I introduced the 15-20 new students to my class by doing a chat about systems and the human…

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ALCMC – Goodbye Papaya :(

Hello Garden Friends, Today was a sad day, we had to pull down our papaya tree because it had died. The autopsy report showed a severe case of rotten roots. Papayas do not need very much water and unfortunately the district’s maintenance people had reset the sprinklers (turning them on) so that the quad’s newly…

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ALCMC – Spring rolls!

Hello Garden Friends. Last Tuesday at ALMC we made spring rolls! Served with a homemade peanut sauce the snacks were a huge hit! I brought my camping stove and steamed the beets for the maximum yummy factor. I always love balancing some of the garden work with cooking lessons. I mean, why grow food if…

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ALCMC – Spring Cleaning

Hello Garden Friends, This week at ALCMC we did a little spring cleaning – pulling out weeds/ old kale, deadheading flowers and making room for our squash and tomato plants. The lesson for today had to do with pruning. For example, by cutting off the dead flowers, the plant focuses its energy away from seed production…

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ALCMC – Harvest Time

Hello Garden Friends, This week at ALMC we spent the first half of class answering questions as a team for our grant progess report. One of the questions asked the students to share a thought about their experiences in the garden. Here are two that warmed my heart: “Hard works pays off” – Juan (age…

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ALCMC- Cooking demo and Succulents

Hello Garden Friends! Today, Farmer Jeff decided to do a cooking demo with the purple potatoes that the kids planted in the Fall! We harvested kale, onions, rosemary, and broccoli for our stir fry. Not only did we do a cooking demo today, we were also able to plant succulents that I had brought as…

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ALCMC – Spring Planting

Hello Garden Friends! Spring is in the air! I can tell because my allergies are acting up :p This week at ALCMC we finished hooking up the drip irrigation and planted a bunch of warm season crops. Heirloom tomatoes? Yup! Zucchinis, Cucumbers? We got em! Cilantro? Oh yeah, don’t you worry… I bought starts to…

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ALCMC – Herb Spiral Renovation

Hello Garden Friends, Last Tuesday at ALCMC the leadership development class broke ground on a new project. The herb spiral outside the ALC office! This area looks like at one point someone put some serious love into this space. Now, we restore. Starting with water, we ran polytubing around the spiral and learned to augment the…

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ALCMC – Harvest Thyme!

Hello Garden Friends! Last Tuesday the Enrich LA leadership development team got to taste the fruits, or mainly leaves, of their labors. We harvested, beets, lettuce, kale, and the last of the snap peas. We also planted tomato and squash seeds in the areas we removed full lettuce heads. I brought some red wine vinegar…

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ALCMC – Planting Pole Beans

Hello Garden Friends, Good news moving forward with the living wall restoration! The plant manager placed a work order to have the irrigation to the wall turned back on! The good news inspired our students to finish up their donation letters and then we went upstairs to work in the garden. Our snap peas were…

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ALCMC – students in charge

Hello Garden Friends, Yesterday the students took the reigns. The last few weeks we have been brainstorming – forming proposals on how we can build our program while maintaining the existing garden. The students presentations focused on restoring the succulent wall and replanting the small garden outside the ALC office. After the presentations, the students…

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Miguel Contreras – Showcase Preparations

Hello Garden Friends, Our garden at ALCMC is officially ready for showcase! The weeds are pulled, the pathways are woodchipped, and we got veggies popping out of the ground! The students worked hard over the last few months! Today, armed with recycled cardboard from the school’s dumpster and some markers and art supplies from home,…

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Miguel Contreras – Chayote

Hello Garden Friends, Last Tuesday, I planted some sprouting Chayote with my students. Chayote is an edible plant belonging to the squash family Cucurbitaceae. Never having grown it before, I rose to the challenge in order to accommodate a couple students who just arrived from El Salvador and speak predominantly Spanish. When I asked them…

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Miguel Contreras – Bamboo Trellis

Hello Garden Friends, This Tuesday at the Miguel Contreras, we built a bamboo fence for our peas vs. beans project. Let me first say, the only thing that feels better than building a bamboo trellis with a bunch of students…is being able to tell them that the bamboo was harvested locally and is no longer…

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Miguel Contreras – Painting Pavers

Hello Garden Friends, This Tuesday at ALCMC we painted some pavers and transplanted some baby scallions I started at home. The painting project was inspired by the need to get some of the special needs students engaged in something that would be immediately gratifying. Gardening is a challenge to many of us for many reasons.…

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Miguel Contreras – Seeding

Hello Garden Friends, This Tuesday at the ALCMC we finally got to put some seeds in the ground. With our irrigation system running and the beds mulched with a healthy dose of cow manure the students were able to make some progress towards manifesting their seed calendars. In the picture above you can see a…

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Miguel Contreras – Irrigation Install

Hello Garden Friends! This Tuesday at the Academic Learning Center we updated our sprinkler system to a new and improved drip system! In the picture above you can see the amended beds draped in a three line drip system. Today was especially nice because Rangers Felipe and Nick were able to come and help me…

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Miguel Contreras – Seed Calendar

Hello Garden Friends! Today at ALCMC we did some crop planning. I started the lesson by sharing a seed calendar courtesy of urban of urbanorganicgardener.com. Through the website I was able to find the agricultural planting zone of the schools zip code (10b) and download a pdf file of all the plants you can start from…

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Academic Learning Community – Sacar yerbas malas

A new year brings new students and new energy into the program. Today, I introduced myself to the students in Spanish and delivered a lesson, with the help of Ms. L, also in Spanish. I was inspired to practice after learning that two of my students in the after school leadership development class spoke only…

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Showcase event at ALC

This past Tuesday was a very special day – all of the students from ALC were let out of school early to participate in the Leadership Development showcase event. At ALC, all students are required to fulfill a certain number of hours in a leadership class of their choosing in order to graduate. There are so…

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Spring at ALC

The first few weeks back from Spring Break and many new plants are sprouting out of the ground! The students and I have been working hard on finishing the herb spiral, and the main garden is flourishing with many different types of flowers and vegetables. Last week, I gave each of the students their own…

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Parts of the Plant @ ALC

This week at ALC, we learned about the functions of the different parts of the plant. Each group of students were assigned a different part of the plant, and discussed as a team what they thought the functions of the part were. Each group came to the front of the class to present, and we…

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Making salad at ALC

Special guest Barbara O’Neil came to ALC this week equipped to make two fantastic salads! With freshly harvested kale and romaine lettuce from the garden upstairs, the students watched intently as Barbara explains how the ingredients she uses comes together to make a wonderful salad. Some of the students are skeptical at first, but after…

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Leadership Showcase at ALC

ALC hosted it’s very first leadership showcase on December 4. Dozens of family came to the school at night to see what their children have been participating in after school. Programs on display varied, some were music oriented, others about film and media, and others about sports. I was fortunate enough to represent EnrichLA, and…

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Guest Speaker at ALC

This week at ALC, we were very lucky to have a guest speaker and a friend of mine, Kellee Matsushita, come talk to the students about her experiences farming in Northern California. She gave an informative presentation about what farming meant to her, and the students were clearly interested as many questions were asked. Kellee…

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Zine making at ALC

For the past few weeks, we have been busy bees at ALC – besides tending to the garden by sowing seeds of winter crops, prepping the herb spiral garden, and general maintenance of the garden, the students have started making zines. Basically, zines are short, self-published journals of a certain topic. In this case, we…

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Hard Work Pays Off!

For the past few weeks at ALC High School, we have been hard at work: two truckloads of compost and mulch arrived and like little ants, we moved it all bag by bag, wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow. The compost will act as a soil amendment to the dry, silty soil and the mulch will prevent water…

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