Students at Cleveland Public School may soon have new ways to learn about energy, the environment, and plant life. At a board meeting on Feb. 8, the Cleveland School Board held discussions on separate proposals to install solar panels and a greenhouse on school grounds. The proposed plans for the greenhouse are funded through a Future Ready CTE grant from the South Central Service Cooperative and would create a space for students to learn about agriculture. The solar panels are a proposal from Ideal Energies and would be an energy source for the school and a potential educational opportunity.

When Cleveland AgTech teacher Kelly Susa talks about her plans for a school greenhouse, she envisions a student-led garden where kids plant, grow, sell and cook their own vegetables. Susa is a first-year teacher at Cleveland, teaching a new agriculture-focused curriculum with classes on plant and animal science, food products, and process and natural resources. Already, Susa has made her mark after applying for and receiving an $87,000 grant to make the greenhouse a reality.

“Students in my plant science classes would kind of run the greenhouse,” said Susa. All aspects of it, the business side of it and grow those plants up to productive vegetables. Then my foods class would take over and use those vegetables for cooking. So it was really a big cycle that the students are really driving themselves.”
This hands-on experience would aim to teach kids all about the growing process including managing climate control, irrigation, routine and minor maintenance. Students would be in charge of deciding which plants to grow and would run fall and spring plant sales.

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