Students Launch School Courtyard Beautification Project

When students at Northumberland Middle School walk into their courtyard now, they enter a place of pride. The bare space was once devoid of any color, artwork, or greenery. Thanks to the 7th-grade Community Problem Solvers (CmPS) group, it will soon have all of these, and much more. The students, members of the school’s TAG program, have been working hard for months on a Courtyard Beautification project which they hope to complete this summer. By July, they plan to have a shade tent, garden beds with native plants, chairs and benches, art murals, and an outdoor classroom. The CmPS program involves students in identifying problems in their school or community and working together to come up with a solution.

Photos: (Above) Painted stones in a rock garden spell out “PRIDE” – Politeness, Respect, Integrity, Determination, Excellence. (Below) Students work on a rock art project in the courtyard. See more photos in slideshow at bottom of article

Project director and NAPS board member, Shauna McCranie, is a firm believer in this kind of hands-on learning. “I think that Community Problem Solving is a learning tool that really invests students in real world projects-- problems that happen in their communities which they can solve with the help of each other,” McCranie said. “It teaches them that there is no problem too big to tackle with the help of others and collaboration.” The students launched their project by presenting a proposal to the school board and, not surprisingly, it was very well received by NMS principal Javornda Ashton and other school officials.