Weekly roundup: Harbor Learning Center gardening project nurtures student growth, Tustin Unified reopens 18 campuses, and more

OCDE project liaison Marianne Taylor assists students in the Harbor Learning Center South campus garden. (Courtesy of CBS News)
OCDE project liaison Marianne Taylor assists students in the Harbor Learning Center South campus garden. (Courtesy of CBS News Los Angeles)

From planting vegetables to feeding fowl, students at the Orange County Department of Education Harbor Learning Center campus are growing their skillset while stepping out of their comfort zones with the help of project liaison Marianne Taylor.

CBS News Los Angeles recently featured the sustainable garden that Taylor and her students have cultivated in its latest segment of “People Making a Difference.”

Specializing in agriculture and natural resources, Taylor works directly with students enrolled in OCDE’s Special Education and Alternative Education divisions to help them learn about the benefits of gardening in an environment that’s tailored to their needs.

“It’s a place where they can come and be creative, really engage in nature and just be comforted with all the different skills that they get to do,” Taylor said.

During their frequent visits to the garden, students plant new flowers and vegetables for the seasons while Taylor assists them in picking their produce and looking after the garden’s chicken coop. With guidance from Taylor, OCDE student Michael was able to become more comfortable caring for the chickens on his own.

“We like learning from her, learning new things about the garden that I’ve never experienced,” Michael said. “I think she’s making a really big difference in my life.”

Here are the other stories we’ve been following this week:

North Hangar 1 Fire
(Courtesy of the Orange County Fire Authority)
  • Eighteen Tustin Unified campuses have reopened after being cleared by the district’s asbestos consulting firm. Following a fire that destroyed one of two historic former hangars in Tustin on Tuesday, Nov. 7, the district worked with city government, health and safety agencies to unveil a detailed reopening plan.
  • Parenting OC is seeking nominations for top teachers, school employees and educational leaders for its 11th annual School Heroes of Orange County awards program.
CTE student in Health Sciences
  • Cal State Fullerton will provide specific grade-level services to Buena Park and La Habra schools with a new $4.1 million federal grant awarded to its Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs.
  • Next school year, students from Spring View Middle School will enroll at neighboring campuses after the Ocean View School District board voted Tuesday to consolidate the site due to declining enrollment.
  • Newport-Mesa Unified School District Superintendent Wesley Smith addressed the district’s commitment to free speech and student safety at a board meeting Tuesday, after a Corona del Mar Middle and High School student was suspended for allegedly making remarks deemed threatening.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.