Monday, August 10, 2009
PLT Works in
MS PLT Coordinator
For the twenty-two years I’ve been involved with PLT, the National Office has claimed that PLT can help raise test scores. I took their word for it. Now I know for sure.
It all started the day Jeannine May set herself on fire. Yep, she sure did – right there in an advisory board meeting in June of 2004. I was giving my semi-annual report to the board when I got to the part about the International PLT Conference that I had attended just a month before in
It was an epiphany.
“I was just sitting here, trying to be quite,” Jeannine said. “I’m reluctant to say anything because I’m inclined to get myself overextended, but I’m excited about what you just said. My boss, Dr Homer Wilkes, (Jeannine is the PAO for the NRCS in
I contacted Principal Mike Irwin at
Awe-stricken, we introduced ourselves to our new heroes and explained our business. The teacher led us to Mike and Cindy. They took us on a tour of this beautifully maintained 1920’s building and grounds filled with interesting environmental education nooks. PLT was everywhere; the staff (from custodians to teachers) and students were proud of their school and students were excited and eagerly learning.
We explained that we would like to do something similar in
Full of hope, we returned to
Olivia presented each school with an environmental teaching kit and taught the involved teachers selected activities from PLT and other environmental “Project” programs. Each participating teacher earned a $100 stipend.. Olivia developed a post-test, with the questions drawn from the state curriculum, then helped the teachers teach the afore-mentioned activities. At the conclusion of the school year, the teachers administered a post-test – with dramatic results. The average increase in test scores was 41 points! In the inner-city school it was 61 points. Now that’s impressive!
Where do we go from here? We’re still working on that. But we have dramatically proven that the National PLT office was right – PLT CAN improve test scores. You’d better believe we will use this information to further environmental education in
For her efforts, Jeannine May was named
Lemon Basil Snaps
(Use only fresh basil in this recipe)
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup minced fresh basil or lemon basil
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped pistachio nuts
3 Tablespoons sugar
Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and next 3 ingredients, beating until blended. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Cover and chill 1 hour.
Combine nuts and sugar in a shallow bowl. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in nut mixture and place 2 inches apart on un-greased baking sheets. Flatten slightly with hands or bottom of a glass. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Lavender Sugar Cookies
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lavender flowers, crushed or ground in food processer
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and lavender flowers. Sift flour and baking powder together and add to butter mixture. Drop teaspoonfuls of batter on un-greased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes just until edges brown. Remove to racks to cool.
Lavender Ice Cream
(This recipe is for a tabletop ice cream freezer.)
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon lavender flowers
2 egg yolks
½ cups sugar
Place lavender flowers in a diffuser ball or in triple thickness cheesecloth bag. Combine cream and milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Place lavender into milk and heat until mixture almost boils, 5-8 minutes. Reduce heat to low and remove and discard lavender. Meanwhile, beat egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl until light yellow and smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add 4-5 tablespoons of the hot mixture into the eggs and stir until combined. Add egg mixture back to hot milk, stirring continuously to keep eggs from curdling. Cook over low heat 3-4 minutes until thickened and mixture coats the back of a spoon.
Cool mixture in an ice water bath, stirring constantly. Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before placing in ice cream freezer. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.
In a 2 quart pyrex measuring bowl, place 8 cups of water and 7 heaping tablespoons of lavender flowers. Boil 24 minutes in microwave; let steep for 2-3 hours. Strain lavender water and use to make your favorite lemonade recipe. For, convenience this also works well with Country Time Lemonade mix.
Lavender Lemon Barsand all this time I thought lavender was just a scent! These are great!