For the 2014-2015 school year, TomTod Ideas partners with an 8th grade exploratory class at the Early College Academy (ECA) in Canton City Schools to provide Grasp. Go. Grow. Jason Pigott, a 7th grade Social Studies teacher, co-leads the class with TomTod’s Executive Dreamer, Joel Daniel Harris. We asked Jason to share more about Grasp. Go. Grow. in part 1 of the 2 part interview.
TomTod: Grasp. Go. Grow. is part of an Exploratory Class period. What is the nature of the Exploratory Class?
Jason Pigott: Students don’t receive grades for exploratory classes. The classes are divided into enrichment and intervention. Grasp. Go. Grow. is an enrichment component where high level students engage in activities to increase their knowledge. It a critical thinking and thought provoking class.
TT: Why did you choose the topic “Food: Changing the Canton City Schools Experience?”
JP: Exposure has always been the focus. We focused on food because a lot of students don’t know what’s in their food or where it comes from. They don’t understand food other than it’s something that you eat. We want to explore the different areas of food, how it’s made and food access. Our poorest population in the US is often the most overweight population…why is that? We want to expose students to food and what it means. The hardest point is remaining as neutral as possible.
TT: Who were the guest speakers?
JP: We had a great group of folks speak to our students about food, presenting from various angles:
-Julie Sparks, Director of Special Projects for JRC (integrally involved in Stark Fresh)
-Amy Weisbrod, Executive Director of the Stark County Hunger Task Force
-Jean Paddock, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Aultman College of Nursing
-Nick Kennedy, Organization Director for the Ohio Farm Bureau for Stark, Columbiana, Portage, and Summit Counties