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James B. Grandon
Boyd Elementary School
Springfield Public Schools
Springfield, Missouri

Several years ago, a standardized math test question about planting flowers in four and six packs baffled Boyd Elementary School students because they had never planted flowers or worked in a garden. Rather than complaining about the test question, Principal James B. Grandon took this chance to open up a larger avenue of learning by using partnerships and grant money to create a neighborhood garden. The garden became an extension of the teaching environment and a source for providing fresh food to the community. This pattern of opportunism has been repeated each time the school identified student needs; evidence can be seen in extra tutoring at a nearby church, home-bound backpacks of food, a mobile dental lab, and a student store where positive student efforts can be exchanged for food, clothing, hygiene products, and supplies. School pride has soared because of test score increases, discipline rates have fallen, and there are regular requests for tours. The successful completion of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme authorization has been an additional catalyst for change. Under Grandon’s leadership, the staff redesigned the curriculum to comprise six six-week units of study that center instruction around big concepts with guiding questions and student-generated inquiries as part of the process. Grandon holds a B.S. and an M.S. in Education from Southwest Missouri State University as well as an Ed.S. from Missouri State University.