Fun, sun, and community service were the themes of the day at F.H. Tuttle Middle School's 5th Tuttlefest. The event was developed in 2015 by science teacher, Chris Towle as well as Amelia Lutz, Sarah Meisenzahl, Mike Hoffman, Andy Weis and Susan Sobczak (former parent and PTO member) with assistance from many others. The eventinitially involved adult led activties with the aim of "improving school climate."
"Different groups of adults worked on items such as school rules, honoring fellow teachers by giving each other thank you notes (still going today), the creation of a school wide festival/field day, and creating a way for kids to give back to our school district and the greater community by participating in service projects," Towle said.
As that first year went on, "the service project group and the festival/field day group decided that it would be best to combine our efforts and to create a one day event that had the morning time participate in various community service projects followed by a picnic and field day for the second half. The concept of “work hard & play hard." Thus, Tuttlefest was created.
In the past, first year teachers supervised a group of students from all three grades for projects, but now the activites are done "on team." This year, students participated in a number of service projects including picking up trash, painting picnic tables and ceiling tiles, creating outdoor classrooms and various group game courts such as the Gaga pit and Nine Square in the Air. Cleaning up/fixing up and raking behind the school; working on the flower gardens at Wheeler Nature Park, kindness notes/rocks in the Gazebo, and helping seniors with technology were additional outreach activities.
Towle noted that the first year of Tuttlefest, the service project groups stayed together and played games such as kick ball. Now, Towle reports, the field day is more of a choice to play games or simply spend time with friends. This year's field day events included gaga ball, four square, the dunk tank (where Principal Karsten Schlenter and other teachers took a seat!), twister (inflatable), cornhole, knockout, tug of war, bungee run (inflatable), and more.
Towle said, "My hope is that everyone realizes how much fun working and playing together is and I truly believe that Tuttlefest has improved the morale of our school."
Tuttle Students Gain Varied Skills in Farm-to-Go Program
Farm-to-Go Program Cultivates Culinary and Teamwork Skills
Posted by Corey Burdick on 5/16/2019 1:00:00 PM
What's for dinner? It's a common refrain in many households; whether this question emanates from your children or even yourself after a long work day, the daily decision is inevitable. Luckily, if you are a parent/guardian of a F.H. Tuttle Middle School student involved in the Farm-to-Go program, you're likely to find yourself posing this question to your kids.
Amy Sutton, the Common Roots’ Food Educator, facilitates the Farm-to-Go program, which is offered Thursdays from 3:30-6:00 pm during the school year. Any middle school student can enroll and there are four sessions each academic year. The class begins immediately following dismissal and starts with a healthy snack before the cooking gets underway. During the class, students learn proper knife skills, how to chop a variety of vegetables using techniques such as, mincing, dicing, and chiffonade. They also learn how to work well as a team, read recipes, implement standard measuring techniques, and how to execute cooking methods like roasting and sautéing.
In addition to gaining valuable cooking acumen, students learn an appreciation for local, fresh ingredients and their importance in creating balanced, nutrient rich meals. The Common Roots Farm at South Village, in addition to other local farms, provides seasonal inspiration for the class. Students take field trips to the farm to harvest vegetables in the fall and learn about planting in the spring. During this academic year, student chefs brought home 834 meals to their families.
So, “What's for dinner?” How about a Vietnamese stir fry with basmati rice, spring rolls and cucumber salad or perhaps roasted acorn squash stuffed with organic turkey, kale, onions, garlic, parsley and rosemary? As the warmer months approach and salads take center stage, students also enjoy whipping up mixed greens with parsley, dill, and basil along with grated beets and carrots, and a variety of tomatoes.
The positive outcomes of this program have been numerous. Some families have been inspired to start their own gardens, while others have begun eating healthy foods that they would not have tried before. Others go to the Common Roots Farmstand at South Village which makes it easy to select fresh, organic veggies and other local ingredients. The Farmstand is located at 55 Allen Road East and is open daily 8 am – 8 pm June 1st through Thanksgiving. When you shop there, you also support five food education and food access programs.
“I think that because of the Farm-to-Go Program more middle school students and staff are talking about how important it is to learn to cook and make and eat healthy foods,” Sutton said. This past September, 19 students signed up for the first session of Farm-to-Go, which is more than double from the year before. Not surprisingly, Sutton noted, “Once the students sign up there is almost always perfect attendance!”
For more information, go to www.commonroots.org or contact Amy Sutton at email@example.com