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Greenhouse project to help students finance 2011 trip to Rome

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
November 7, 2009
— A greenhouse going up at Arrow Park is one step on a journey that will lead to Rome.

Students, parents and staff from the TAGOS Leadership Academy are building the greenhouse near the school, which is housed in one of the Arrow Park buildings formerly owned by Parker Pen off North Parker Drive.


The structure is one of two greenhouses to be built at the school. The construction and the raising of plants inside the completed buildings are both projects in which students are learning math and biology.


Money raised from sales of annuals and perennials in the spring will help fund a trip to Italy. Selected students will fly to Rome in 2011 along with students from another charter school in Appleton, said Al Lindau, TAGOS dean of students.


Plans already are under way for a learning unit in which about 16 juniors and seniors will study Rome in preparation for the trip, Lindau said.


The trip will last about seven days and cost students about $2,000 apiece, said Lindau, who is excited about the possibilities.


“Wow, the arts, the culture,” he said.


Students also will raise money on their own, Lindau said.


TAGOS’ curriculum is based on projects and does not include a lot of traditional classroom instruction. Students are selected for the school because they are at risk of not graduating and often say they did not fit in at the city’s large high schools.


Both greenhouses were donated. Hendricks Development Corp., which owns Arrow Park, knew of the TAGOS plans and donated the hoop-structure greenhouse now under construction, Lindau said.


TAGOS also wrote and received a $5,000 grant from Sprint. The money will pay for a 10-by-24-foot greenhouse and supplies. The second house will be smaller and heated, and that’s where plants will be started this winter. As the weather warms, plants will be moved to the 16-by-100 foot hoop house.


Lindau said he plans to recruit experts from the community to guide the students in the greenhouse operation.


TAGOS teachers already are talking about a future project to create a greenhouse “biome,” which will involve raising fish that will produce fertilizer for plants and compost that would provide heat to the greenhouse, Lindau said.



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