December 18, 2018
 
Learning Prep School Receives $100K for Horticultural Program

February 16, 2018 — Learning Prep School, a Newton nonprofit that provides individualized instruction for students with complex learning profiles in grades 3-12, this week announced it has received a $100,000 grant, the largest gift from a charitable foundation in its history, to help students develop horticultural and other work skills.

Learning Prep School (LPS) said the grant, from the PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc., will enable it to enlarge its facility and classroom to support increased production and sales. The addition of hydroponics, it said, will give students top-line skills in the latest of horticultural techniques and practices.

"These improvements will also help Learning Prep build its partnerships with area nurseries through the work-study program so students gain even more employment opportunities," according to the school.

As part of LPS's 30-year-old horticulture program, students have worked in the school’s organic nursery and greenhouse, yielding more than 400 pounds of produce annually. They grow, manage, and propagate a variety of plants and herbs at the school that they then sell to the general public and help supply the school’s cafeteria. The existing greenhouse, built in 1980, is small and needs renovation.

“This is a remarkable opportunity for our students to really build on what has proven to be a successful program,” said Ted Sharp, interim executive director of LPS. “Students learn creative problem-solving skills that enhance their math, science, and other academic abilities in the greenhouse setting. The greenhouse not only provides an important academic component, but the life skills and job skills opportunities are equally unique and enriching.”

Over the last four years, the school has maintained a garden-to-table program, coordinating the school curriculum in horticulture and food services. In 2014, 30 volunteers helped build six raised, organic garden beds, each sponsored by a different local organization. This year, the program has been temporarily suspended while funding was sought to restore and revitalize the greenhouse.

"We are thrilled to play a role in the revitalization of Learning Prep's Horticulture Program to enhance skill development for the students," said Alan Pisano, PwC Boston Assurance Partner and Learning Prep School Board Member. "While continuing to deliver our financial literacy curriculum at the school, PwC partners and staff are also looking forward to assisting students in the greenhouse and teaching basic business concepts."

Established in 1970, LPS offers individualized language-based schooling to 200 students with complex learning profiles including dyslexia, expressive/receptive language issues, autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, limited social pragmatics, and executive functioning challenges.

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