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Letter from the Executive Director


What Makes a REAL school garden?


The Design Process

REAL Learning : Math

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The Big Dig


REAL Learning : Science and Language Arts

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Teacher Training


Evergreen Support

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Statement of Activities and Financial Position

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Donors and Contributors


Merits and Achievements






JEANNE McCARTY, Executive Director MARISSA BLAND, Program Assistant JEFF CROSS, Director of Finance and Operations SCOTT FEILLE, North Texas Regional Director SARAH GEER, Director of Foundation and Individual Relations MATT HACKLER, Director of Development KENDRA LEMON, Program Assistant NANCY PAYNE, Sr. Project Manager and School Garden Designer CAROLYN PHILLIPS, Manager of Corporate Engagement COLLEEN PORTER, Educator ALISON RISSO, Director of Marketing and Communications ELLEN ROBINSON, Program Director ERIC VANDERBECK, Educator KELLY WARDLE, Executive Assistant

FRED THOMPSON Board Chair; Principal, The Communications Collaborative, LLC

KAREN DIELMAN Board Member; Portfolio Manager, The Jenesis Group

DELAINE EASTIN Board Vice-Chair; Former California State Superintendent of Public Instruction

KELLY GARRETT Board Member; Executive Director, KIPP: St. Louis JEANNE McCARTY Board Secretary; Executive Director, REAL School Gardens

CAROLINA MATA-TOVAR Board Member; Vice President, Sales Operations Excellence, Xerox Global Document Outsourcing Business Group

ROBERT MENZI Board Treasurer; Executive Vice President, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

JULIE NEIMAT Board Member; Vice President, Human Resources, Discovery Communications, LLC


Letter from the Executive Director

There’s just something about a composition book. New ones are so full of potential. Old ones are so full of rich experiences and lessons learned. I’ve found that in the right hands, even the simplest tools, like the humble composition book, can work wonders. That’s the idea behind REAL School Gardens. Our mission is to create learning gardens that grow successful students. We use gardens to get students engaged because the simplest way to get kids learning is to harness their “natural” curiosity. And while teachers in low-income schools often don’t have access to the

P.S. You can also check out our Garden Tour Videos online to see us in action!

latest technology, they do have access to a door outside. REAL school gardens are powerful educational tools that get children engaged in Science, Math and Language Arts lessons. So, in this annual report, I want to document how we created 88 learning gardens, how we trained 2,640 teachers, and how we enriched the education of almost 49,000 students. Once you’ve seen all that we’ve achieved, I know you’ll see just how much potential there is in learning and teaching in the garden. First, we’ll take a look at some of the accomplishments that made the 2012-2013 school year great; then, I’ll walk you through how we design and create a REAL school garden, and show you how we turn it into an active learning space. Along the way, I’ll share some of the assignments and activities students master when learning in the garden. It’s been a busy year for our organization, one composition book is barely enough to contain our accomplishments and it certainly can’t contain our enthusiasm for the cause. Interest in the power of teaching outdoors is growing, thanks to supporters like you. Thank you for opening this composition book, opening the door outside and joining us on this journey! Sincerely,

Jeanne McCarty ///// Executive Director

REAL School Gardens 2012-2013


What makes a garden a REAL school garden?


REAL school gardens are more than veggie beds; they’re rich and dynamic learning environments, full of interesting educational elements and stations that get kids excited and engaged. Children love spending time learning in the garden.

Our Landscape Architect helps tailor each REAL school garden to the school’s particular needs. In addition to vegetable, herb and native perennial beds, we install ADA compliant pathways and much more!

Shade structures E2

REAL School Gardens 2012-2013

Engaging water features


What makes a garden a REAL school garden?

Rain collect ion & drip irrigation systems

Weather monitoring stat

2013 Math Quiz! There are 88 REAL school gardens in the ground as of June 2013, with an average of 550 children per school. Estimate how many kids currently have access to a REAL school garden?

Animal habitats


550 x 88 48,400 children

What percentage of the learning gardens in the REAL School Gardens network over the past 10 years are still actively used?


REAL School Gardens 2012-2013


the design process


Every REAL school garden is designed in part by the children who will use it. Our Student Design Competition not only invests children in the long-term success of the garden, but it’s also a real-world way to get kids learning math skills. Tea che r’s not e :

Some of the most creative ideas students have included in their garden designs are rock-climbing walls and pett ing zoos!

Student Design Competition Students learn what makes a great garden and design their own; they then vote on the best ones to present to the community.

Design & Dine Parents, teachers, students and other community members gather to review ? : di d yo u kn ow

gn & D ine We held 9 Desi 12-2013 events in the 20 ging almost school year enga members in 500 community process. the garden design E4

REAL School Gardens 2012-2013

the winning student designs, discuss key features and get a timeline of next steps leading up to the Big Dig.


real learning

Everything we do, we do to help children in low-income schools succeed academically. By getting kids learning hands-on lessons in the garden, they have an easier time understanding the concepts they’ll need for long-term academic success. Our program is proven to promote student engagement. In a recent study, 94% of educators said that the REAL School Gardens Program was a major contributor to increased engagement in learning for their students. What does this level of engagement look like? We’re glad you asked.

ent Math Assignm s are How many seed ne stalk of produced on o basil? . Show your work

REAL School Gardens 2012-2013




The Big Dig brings together hundreds of volunteers to help get the garden installed in just one day! Parents, teachers, corporate volunteers, and students come together at 8 AM and work side-by-side to create an engaging place for children to learn.

Build the structures : With hundreds of fresh volunteers, it’s best to tackle big structures first thing.

ble annuals and trees, Add native perennials, herbs, edi with a thick layer of mulch. and surround and protect them


REAL School Gardens 2012-2013



h their families Corporate partners volunteer wit for a meaningful day of service.

ing on Make sure the pumps and piping are work water rain the water features, drip irrigation and the in ly collection systems so water is used wise r wate n garden. Children and adults alike lear y. olog hydr conservation techniques and basic

Train the garden team on basic garden maintenance, such as managing the compost. Not only does this help feed the garden, but kids learn about decomposition and the nitrogen cycle.

Although it’s a lot of hard work, we make sure everybody has a good time.

Our Big Dig Funders

United Way of Metropoli tan Dallas, Bank of America, FedEx, The Esping Family Foundation, The Real Estate Council, The Miles Foun dation, Chase, Mercedes-Benz Financia l Services, The Meadows Foundatio n and ORIX Foundation

w e h el d : th is ye ar

nts and 7 B ig D ig Eve cts ancement P roje 6 Garden Enh er s 2,000 volunte ost m al ed ost h and REAL School Gardens 2012-2013


real learning


Science Assignment

Using text and diagrams, demonstrate the different types of energy at work in the REAL school garden.


REAL School Gardens 2012-2013



Language A r Assignment ts

Find a leaf in the garden a nd describe it so that someon e else could pic k it out of a g roup.

REAL School Gardens 2012-2013


Teacher Training


Building the garden is just the first step in creating an engaging educational environment. REAL School Gardens’ expert educators also train each school’s teachers as part of a three-year partnership.




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Full Staff Trainings To kick the program off right, we provide a full day of training for the whole staff. We hold a similar session at the end of the first three years to ensure the learning garden program lasts for years to come.

Teacher-to-Teacher Training REAL School Gardens educators conduct on-the-job training during class, modeling effective outdoor teaching methods and engaging lesson ideas.

Garden Coordinator Meetings Three times a year, REAL School Gardens brings our Garden Coordinators all together to share resources and best practices to help their gardens thrive.


REAL School Gardens 2012-2013

did you know? :

There are 82 school gardens in Washington D.C. To help turn those spaces into learning gardens, local nonprofit DC Greens called upon REAL School Gardens staff to train the city’s Garden Coordinators how to get teachers to use the gardens as an educational resource. In 2013 REAL School Gardens was also working hard to expand our organization into the national capital region.


teacher training = real results

REAL School Gardens has been working with PEER Associates on a comprehensive three-year evaluation of our program. Between 2010 and 2013, PEER collected and analyzed more than 5,000 surveys from educators in REAL School Gardens’ teacher training program. Their findings show that teacher training is critical in transforming a school garden into an outdoor classroom.


Teacher s are more effective!





1.0 0






Training Events Attended


mo re ef fe ct ive ed uc at or s in de x :

Teacher training is criti cal for school gardens to produce acad emic results. • T

he more REAL School Ga rdens training teachers receive, the more effectiv e they become. Twice as many teachers score top marks for effectiveness after three years of the pr ogram. • After just one year of training, our most recen t partner schools see 58% of their teachers using the garden regularly for academic instruction.

ps REAL School Gardens training hel teachers become better prepared.

Teacher s are better prepared!

that • More than 90% of all educators said REAL School Gardens’ trainings are immediately applicable and directly connected to their state standards.

92% of teachers agree they are better prepared

The REAL School Gardens Program improves teacher job satisfaction. s report • More than twice as many teacher pleting being satisfied with their jobs after com the three-year training program.

AGREE! only 8% disagree

REAL School Gardens 2012-2013


evergreen support


We set up all our schools for long-term success. After the first three years of our partnership are finished, schools can join our Evergreen Support Program and continue to receive seasonal seedlings, volunteer opportunities, and training sessions.

Sam Rosen Elementary Celebrates 10th Anniversary with REAL School Gardens! m rdens partnered with Sa In 2003, REAL School Ga t ate a learning garden tha Rosen Elementary to cre and hieve in Science, Math, helped their students ac ng program has been growi Language Arts, and the strong ever since.

th, covering charting, “We use potatoes for Ma subtraction, and simple prediction, addition and Armenta, a 5th grade fractions,” says Cristina tor. current Garden Coordina teacher and the school’s in , we created a solar still “To teach the water cycle shocked as the kids were the ground. I was just as did it the first time. It’s that it worked when we ch es to different ways to tea certainly opened my ey just about everything.” nts 10th anniversary, stude To celebrate the garden’s measured and weighed and teachers harvested, s, carrots, and about 150 kale, onions, salad green st! red them for a garden fea potatoes, and then prepa





REAL School Gardens 2012-2013


statement of activities and financial position

REAL School Gardens’ total revenue for the year was $1.4 million and we continued to grow our base of public support. Of this total, 56% represented support from public and private foundations, 24% cash and in-kind donations from corporations and corporate foundations, 13% support from United Way, 4% gifts from individual donors, and 3% income from other sources, including program revenue. Our expenses for the year totaled $1.39 million. $1.07 million (77%) was invested in program services, including educator training and resources; design, installation and support of learning gardens; and community engagement.

Distribution of Expenses PROGRAM SERVICES








Distribution of Program Services TEACHER TRAINING


REAL School Gardens 2012-2013


statement of activities ///////////////////////////////////// and financial position Year Ended June 30, 2013 with comparative total for 2012







$499,988 $862,185


201 3

201 2

$1,362,173 $1,692,892













Net assets released from restrictions: - $1,013,947 ($1,013,947) ons ricti rest ram prog of Satisfaction


Interest income Rental income Other income


$1,559,356 ($151,762)

$1,407,594 $1,766,983 T O TA L

201 3


Program services Management and general Fundraising TOTAL EXPENSES Change in net assets Net assets at beginning of year NET ASSETS AT END OF YEAR


REAL School Gardens 2012-2013

201 2









$204,467 $1,389,289

- $204,467 $173,602 - $1,389,289 $1,254,409











$1,058,942 $1,040,637



We are deeply grateful to all of our funders and supporters for making our work possible. Though very different, this diverse group of individuals, foundations, corporations, and other organizations are united in supporting our mission to create learning gardens that grow successful students. (in alphabetical order by giving level) CORPORATIONS AND FOUNDATIONS $100,000+ The Jenesis Group United Way of Metropolitan Dallas $25,000-$99,999 Bank of America The Boone Family Foundation Chase Esping Family Foundation FedEx Harold Simmons Foundation Hoblitzelle Foundation The Meadows Foundation Mercedes-Benz Financial Services The Miles Foundation Rainwater Charitable Foundation The Real Estate Council Foundation $5,000-$24,999 Alcon Chipotle Mexican Grill Ecolab M.B. and Edna Zale Foundation The Mike and Mary Terry Family Foundation M.R. and Evelyn Hudson Foundation The Nancy Ruth Fund National Fish and Wildlife Foundation ORIX Foundation Research Now Ricky Rudine Memorial Fund The Sprint Foundation Surgical Care Affiliates Texas Instruments The Thomas M., Helen McKee & John P. Ryan Foundation VHA, Inc. Wallace Genetic Foundation Wells Fargo Whole Kids Foundation $1,000-$4,999 AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company Blue Mesa Grill Captain Planet Foundation Colonial Country Club Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation of North Texas

Communities Foundation of Texas Founders Garden Club of Dallas The Human Source Foundation Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation Junior Group of the Marianne Scruggs Garden Club Junior League of Dallas Up to $1,000 Albertsons LLC Alliance Data Cold Springs Farm Freese & Nichols GoodSearch GRACE Restaurant Safeway, Inc. Spindrift Soda Texas Nursery and Landscape Association SUZY PEACOCK FRIENDSHIP CIRCLE Anonymous Jessica & Todd Barr Dr. Laura Carstensen Jane & Terry Chadsey JoAnn Collins Crescent Real Estate Equities, Ltd. Jeff Cross Suzanne & Charles Davis Donnette Durham Kelly & Scott Feille Elizabeth & Kelly Garrett Sarah & Scott Geer Matt Hackler Melodee & Joe Halbach Pat Harrison Martha Hayes Bonnie & Randy Jones Ruth & Dick Kinler Beatrice & Dusty Kuykendall John Langdon Jeanne McCarty & Jason Hewitt Jessi & Matt Rainwater Kathleen Rall Richard Rall Karen Reynolds Michelle Schneider Sebastian Construction Janet Shull

Jason Simus & Heather Ross Simus John Simus Jeremy Smith Sara & Sy Sohmer Kimberly Speairs Suzanne Tuttle Eric Vanderbeck & Kathy Cash Tisha & Sunny Vanderbeck INDIVIDUALS Ryan Abbott Dr. David Aftandilian & Dr. Sara Rose Nicole Anderson Anonymous Rebecca Ayer Gabrielle Babcock Celia Barajas Alison Beck Claudia Blalock Katherine Bolton Linda & Michael Bourland Alexis Branaman Jasmin Brand Dorayne Breedlove Carla Brown Nicole Bullock Traci Buschner Levi Byers Saralyn Carrillo Edward Caspers Pam Chamberlain Ginger Ciminello Philip Combs Lori Como Todd Connor Kathleen & Murray Covens Sam Cox Craig Cross Marylou Cross Lynda Crouch Suzan Crouch Trammell Crow Lorraine & Merrick Darley Ryan Darley Ross Darrow Giles Davidson & Dan Waldmann Leslie Dell Maribeth DeLorenzo & Eric Winslow REAL School Gardens 2012-2013




(in alphabetical order) Christine DeVine Jane Didear Karen Dielman Leonard Dombrowski Jeff Dries Michael Duffin Delaine Eastin Cathy Eddy Deborah Endsley Bryan Feille Rachel Feit Marie Fisk Andrew Fort Ryan Jill Fox Tracy Friday Laurie Fry Susan Gammino Cindy Gay Drew Derek Gibson Gil Glover Tesa Golden Vinita & Eric Gotting Melinda Gratwick Kathy Grodeon Crystal Grose Catherine Grundy Blake Hackler Darlene & Jerry Hackler Scott Hackler Courter Hall Anita Hardwick Blake Hestir Rachel Hill Tracy Hollis Kathrin & Stefan Huber JoAnne Hughes Kristen Hurd Laura Hyatt Chase Johnson Kia Johnson Caroline & Adam Jones Vanessa Jones Tiffany Kaiser James Kasson Michael Kerrigan Lorie & Michael Kinler Jennifer Kolmes Janelle & Erik Kraemer Laura Krinock Tamara Lawless Christina Le Kendra & Christopher Lemon Helen Lyons Shailin Makhani Kay & Bob Manry Lucila Mauri John Mays Wendy Mazur


REAL School Gardens 2012-2013

Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth McCarty, Jr. Kent McCarty Dr. M. Dwain McDonald Blair & Bill McGroarty JT McPherson Robert Menzi Laura Miller Marianne & Brian Minnehan Darren Moore Diana Morgan Susie & Gene Morrissey Julie Neimat Eric Nelson Pheba & Andriy Nemchenko Kathy Park Beverly Payne Kirby & Vicki Payne Nancy Payne & Dale Boisso Carla Phillips Carolyn & Wiley Phillips Wendy Phillips Chrystin Pleasants Michael Pollard Patricia Polzer Colleen & Chip Porter Dorothy Porter Wendy Quandahl Ronald Ramos Lisa Rello Kerry Renta Adam Richardson Becky Robinson Ellen & Michael Robinson Russ Root April Sawey Robyn Schaub Sharon & Richard Schoech Loretta Smith Rick Sorrells Christina Steffey Jeffrey Strater Paul Sugg Neil Sweet Frederick G. Thompson Lisa & Mark Trammell Sabrina Tristan Alyssa Vijil Amy & Ray Walker Ashley Walton Kelly Wardle Linda Watts Jo Ann Whitman Keith Whitworth Andy Wickless Clement Yeh Patricia Yungclas Carrie Zimmerman

GIFT-IN-KIND DONORS Botanical Interests, Inc. Botanical Research Institute of Texas Gregg Brown Calloway’s Nursery Center for Nonprofit Management Chipotle Mexican Grill Cockrell Enovation Dallas Independent School District Deloitte Consulting LLP Dripping Springs Ollas Fort Worth Independent School District GRACE Restaurant Kayla Greenrod Harvest Supply Martha Hopkins In A Pickle Foods Nancy Lamb Marshall Grain MJB Wood Group, Inc. Philip Combs Design Matthew Rainwater Redenta’s TechSoup Trimble Buildings Water Gardens Galore SWEAT EQUITY Alcon Arlington Independent School District Bank of America BBVA Compass Birdville Independent School District Botanical Research Institute of Texas Daisy Troop 5394 Dallas County Master Gardeners Dallas Independent School District FedEx Office Fort Worth Independent School District Grand Prairie Independent School District Chase Mercedes-Benz Financial Services North Texas Food Bank Rain Ranchers The Real Estate Council’s Associate Leadership Council Tarrant Area Food Bank Tarrant County Master Gardeners Texas AgriLife Extension VHA, Inc. Villegas Landscaping Water Gardens Galore Wells Fargo


ed Mike Miles select ls o o ch S f o t en d n J. Superinte e the Emmett iv ce re to s en d ar REAL School G ward for outstanding

eA Conrad Extra Malillas ISD. ongoing support


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of D


andi ng!

Certificate of Appreciation

Texas State Senator Wendy Davis awarded REAL School Gardens partner schools in Tarrant County a Certificate of Appreciation.

Giving Li


The Givi ng Librar y, an online vi deo arch ive that connects donors to nonprofits, fu nded a vi deo featuring Executiv e Director Jeanne M cCarty.

Council, The Real Estate School Gardens to

or TREC, chose REAL th their Associate work on two Big Digs wi rt of their yearly Leadership Council as pa class project.


Fort Worth, Texas

817.348.8102 Washington, D.C.


REAL School Gardens 2012-2013 Annual Report  
REAL School Gardens 2012-2013 Annual Report