Macgregor.jpgMacGregor Elementary 

Update from S2P Co-Team Leaders: Alyssa Dole and Justin Myers  

Team Nutrition Leader: Ms. Suzanne Gomez, P.E. Teacher and Ms. Laura Allen, Magnet Coordinator

RFS programming began - September 2006
Number of children served each month: 489 students in pre-K through 5th grade receive monthly classes in the Recipe Garden; students in Kindergarten through 5th grade also participate in monthly Chefs in SchoolsTM culinary classes while pre-K students enjoy a seasonal culinary class to begin the kitchen classroom introduction.

CIS students have had field trips to Froberg Farms, t'afia, Brennans, Voice & Haven restaurants 

Other Programming:

After-school classes, which are generously funded through school fundraisers and the MacGregor PTO, are held weekly on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday afternoons and serve Kindergarten - 5th grade students.

We offered Eat This! Summer CampTM in June 2008 and 2009 for 12 children and in June 2010 for 24 children in the 4th and 5th grades.  

RFS Chefs in Schools™ at MacGregor: 

Monica Pope, t'afia (Monthly CIS classes since September 2006)   

Randy Evans, Haven (Monthly CIS Classes since September 2006)   

Michael Kramer, Voice (Montly CIS classes since September 2008) 

Members of the RFS Chefs Advisory Board who have taught at Rodriguez:  

Domenica Catelli, author of Mom-a-Licious, visits afterschool classes   

Clive Berkman, author of Empty Bottles, visits after school classes   

Matt Zelond, private chef, visit after school classes 

Gary Mularski, Dining Chez Vous, visits after school classes

Anita Jaisinghani, Indika and Pondicherri

The MacGregor Recipe Garden: Was the first one we built and consists of ¼ acre of 24 raised beds: 11 dedicated to grade level teachers, 6 dedicated to afterschool, 2 dedicated to science teachers, and 6 dedicated to herbs, native Texas plantings, including a butterfly and bird bed. We also have two composting sites, and a worm bin for vegetable scraps. We have begun a small orchard with 8 trees. 

Special RFS Events at MacGregor:
After School Dinner Club Party Dec. '07: 12 Fifth grade students participating in the RFS Dinner Club, cooked and served a three course dinner to 40 parents and visitors.

Spring Fling May '08: RFS after school classes and 15 volunteers entertained parents and visitors (including Houston First Lady, Andrea White) in their Recipe Garden with a healthy supper, farmers market and games for the kids. 

Spring Fling March '09: RFS after school classes and 20 volunteers entertained 100 parents, faculty and visitors with a three-course meal, cooking demonstration and farmers market.  

June 2009: Eat This! Summer CampTM for 12 4th and 5th grade students

September 2009: Channel 2 News visits and videotapes a class in action

February 2010: Fruit trees planted throughout the campus with parents and community volunteers

March 2010: HISD / Aramark Dieticians present to the MacGregor PTO

May 2010: Field Day with fruit kebobs and Jamba Juice sponsored fruit smoothies

June 2010: Eat This! Summer CampTM for 20 4th and 5th grade students

November 2010: Fall Garden Work Day

April 2011: MacGregor students participate in Art Car Parade on RFS's rolling Garden Bed.

Volunteer Activities and projects implemented on campus by RFS with our Partners:
June 2007: 100 PricewaterhouseCoopers volunteers built our first Recipe Garden at MacGregor: ¼ acre, it consists of 24 raised beds; painted our culinary classroom and built cooking stations for the students.
March 2009: workday with 75 volunteers from First Presbyterian Church who built amenities for the garden and culinary classroom.
June 2009: 60 PricewaterhouseCoopers volunteers painted extensive murals in our garden and kitchen classroom.  

Wellness Committee Update from MacGregor: The Wellness and Garden Committee have worked together to provide healthy snacks for Field Day; organize garden workdays; chosen fruit trees; had meetings and discussions about how to improve school lunch options; conducted outreach to parents about healthy lifestyle food choices; and how to increase student physical activity. Previous RFS Team Leader, Molly Graham gave a healthy cooking class demonstration to PTO members in the spring of 2009 and plans are underway to begin a regular teacher cooking class. All teachers participated in a garden sign competition for garden beautification and Earth Day 2009. Most teachers are participating in a 10,000 steps program and wear pedometers. Plans are underway for a Health Fair and more PTO programs during the upcoming 2010/11 school year. The expanded culinary programming will compliment the efforts of the Wellness Committee to help empower the entire school community to adopt healthier lifestyle choices. The Wellness Committee seeks to involve all parties - administration, faculty, parents - in establishing a positive school atmosphere that offers physical and social support in everyday decisions about healthy eating and physical activity. Each month, every teacher will share in the students' experience of a new healthy recipe and learn culinary skills that they will be able to take home and incorporate into their own personal life.  Piecing together these consistent garden and culinary experiences and building on them from month-to-month, offers a unique chance to create a climate of health that impacts the entire school.  

PricewaterhouseCoopers has been a very engaged partner at MacGregor over several years, building the garden and enhancing our classrooms there and underwriting many of the materials. We earned one of only five $5,000 BP for Energy Grants given in 2009 for our Eat This! Summer Camp™ in June '09. We have received other grants for MacGregor from: Native American Seed Company for wildflower seeds and Houston-Galveston Area Council for fruit trees. 

We know our message is getting through in part because: One fourth-grade girl was very quiet in Mr. Lewis' class. In gardening, though, Miss Sharon noticed she was very observant and was able to recall previous lessons about planting and other garden activities. Throughout the school year, she became a real leader in the garden for her class, and began speaking out more. At the end of the school year, her grandmother said that the girl was so excited about gardening, that she decided to take an old dresser and make a garden bed outside the house using the drawers. Now, when she goes to visit her grandmother, they spend time gardening and cooking. The girl's favorite dish to make is fish with herbs from the garden. 

"My son Jackson is in your Monday class after school. He loves it and now always wants to help me cook--even giving me advice! Thanks for helping reinforce what we do at home... from healthy eating, to trying new things, to table manners. You are making a difference."
Thank you, Laura Whitley - MacGregor Parent

"The RFS Program has become an integral part of our campus culture, enjoyed by the children and appreciated by the parents and faculty.  After school classes and summer camps fill up fast and there is always a waiting list.  I especially like it that Molly and Sharon reach out to teachers with ways to incorporate healthy messaging into their core subjects, which has the added benefit of enriching the children academically as well."
Alyssa Dole and Justin Myers , S2P Instructors

Chef Alyssa and Justin's Update: 
 There is some exciting news and a couple of big changes at MacGregor Elementary for the upcoming 2011-12 school year.  This year the culinary program has expanded to all grades, which enables every student to have the opportunity to experience the wonders of gardening and cooking.  This is a beautiful occasion to fully integrate RFS' programming with each grade's curriculum and create a school wide momentum in making healthy choices.

The other big change is that two new team leaders will be managing the program at MacGregor.  Chef Alyssa Dole will be teaching the culinary program and Justin Myers will be heading up the garden program.  Both are excited to join the MacGregor community and build off of the strong foundation of the previous five years.

This year, as a result of the entire student population both gardening and cooking, we are looking to truly capture the knowledge and power of growing and cooking food.  The expanded programming will allow for an enhanced collective mindset between students and teachers on how the fields of cooking and gardening apply to everyday classroom activities.  Reinforcing HISD's core curriculum with RFS' experiential, hands-on programming will increase the educational opportunities for students and teachers alike.  

"I believe that if we give kids the tools they need to make informed decisions about the food they eat, then we can make a healthy change in their future."-Chef Alyssa