Weekly roundup: Magnolia’s ambitious agriculture plan, OC’s Blue Ribbon schools, a destructive social media trend, and more

Educators in Anaheim are watering the seeds of an ambitious new agriculture program that has the potential to lead to healthier diets, sustainable farming and cultural exchange.

As the Orange County Register reported this week, Magnolia High already has a 3,000-square foot garden, but school officials and agricultural club members have their sights set much higher. They’re looking to create a 2.5-acre working farm with fruit trees, berry patches, vegetables and a greenhouse as part of a cross-disciplinary initiative.

While plan is still staking shape, it will start with students gathering and analyzing data on the nutritional needs of their surrounding community. The longterm goal is to produce healthy fruits and vegetables that can stock local cafeterias and be shared with families.

Magnolia science teacher Sabina Giakoumis said students and a few parents will likely be a part of the farm’s decision-making board. She and Superintendent Mike Matsuda envision getting the community further involved with cooking classes and the distribution of student-made gardening kids.

“Our agriculture site is not the solution; we see it as an asset,” Giakoumis told the Register. “So how can you use this space to create a solution?”

Here are some of the other stories we’re tracking this week:

Title for "In the news"
  • Seven Orange County schools have been awarded the nation’s highest level of distinction as 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools. Only 28 campuses earned the honor in California, meaning Orange County accounts for 25 percent of the state’s Blue Ribbon winners.
  • A group of environmentally conscious students from Laguna Beach High School joined in a statewide effort to help clear trash from local beaches.
  • The Buena Park School District announced the launch of new WellSpace centers at its two middle schools, giving students at each campus a space to relax, recharge and reset between lessons. That brings the county’s total to five.
  • More than 100 new teachers in the Santa Ana Unified School District reportedly didn’t get their first paychecks on time due to delays in processing recent hires. District officials are working to fix the problem and say all employees will be compensated for all hours worked.
  • Founded in 1940, the Assistance League of Newport-Mesa works to provide school supplies, food and dental health services to children from low-income families. The local chapter recently equipped 1,500 local students with uniforms, books and other school essentials as part of the nationwide Operation School Bell effort.
  • What started as a work-based learning opportunity with state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment has turned into full-time employment for two recent graduates of the Santa Ana Unified School District.
  • A founding member of the foundation that supports OCDE’s Inside the Outdoors environmental education program has died at age 98. Tony Bube served actively for more than a decade on what was then known as the Outdoor Science and Environmental Field Study Foundation. Today it’s the Inside the Outdoors Foundation.
  • And finally, new safety measures put in place to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 are also limiting the spread of lice, experts say. School nurses are optimistic that cases will be lower this year.

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.