The summer is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop there. Students across the country enjoy the enrichment of good teaching and learn the beauty of gardening and ownership. Check out this week’s positive news outside of the STC network.

A Garden in the Sky

Last May, Kim Frankel, along with a student at the Aspen Institute, started a rooftop garden at North Star Academy Charter in Newark, NJ. Hoping that this outdoor space could inspire students to learn the value of land stewardship and a healthy relationship to food, Frankel is now seeing an immediate positive effect: this summer, students sold a modest amount of produce at local farmers’ markets and are taking ownership over the garden as they learn to plant, harvest, and tend the beds.

Videos of Top Teacher Explaining Their Craft

Teachers are human, after all, and they don’t like to be bored any more than the rest of us.

As we report, teachers in the Washington, D.C., public schools can now watch their best performing colleagues at work in the classroom.

Instead of setting up a camera at the back of the room and film a whole class, C-Span style, the district teamed up with a reality television company. The result is a collection that showcases a range of teachers, subjects and grade levels. In interviews filmed in a style familiar to anyone who’s watched “Survivor” or “The Bachelor,” the teachers explain a little about what they are trying to get their students to learn, and then quick jump cuts land on snippets from the classroom.

Most of the videos will be available only to Washington teachers who have access to a password protected portal. Jill Nyhus, senior director of technology in Washington, said that the district wanted to show parents and teaching recruits, though, a few samples of what happens in D.C. classrooms. So, the district has made a few available on its Web site and YouTube.

Cleveland: Two closed public schools transformed

Two boarded-up Cleveland Public Schools have reopened as high expectation charter schools.

Breakthrough Schools, working with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, has transformed the former Arthur Roth and Woodland Hills schools into part of its network of public charter schools.

“We are just extremely excited to go into a neighborhood, literally and figuratively take the boards off of closed schools and reopen it as a high performing school for kindergarten through 8th, and be a rock in this community,” said Chris O’Brien, Head of School at E-Prep Woodland Hills.

He says the new schools will replicate the successful model of the Breakthrough Schools, which has been developed over more than ten years.

“It’s going to look and feel different,” he said. “There’s just a hum about the building. The scholars are constantly working, the teachers are engaging, lively. And when you witness a classroom where one hundred percent of the scholars are working, you