Michelle Ludford, Beaubien School
November 4, 2012
Thank you so much for coming to Beaubien school to educate the children about apples. This was an incredible learning experience for them, I am sure they will never look at apples in the same way again! You are enriching the lives of thousands of children in an educational and fun way.
Thanks again for sharing your time and knowledge.
Nicole Fleiner, Sullivan High School
March 7, 2010
I wanted to thank you for your apple presentation in my 5th and 7th period AVID classes. I decided to put a fun extra credit question on my semester 1 final exam regarding your presentation. The question was “name the four apples you tasted during the ‘Apple Lady’s’ presentation”. I couldn’t believe how many kids remembered the names of the apples!
After the final, several kids asked me to confirm the names and (unfortunately) I could only remember two! I had to look through their final exams to jog my memory (some kids got all four correct). Just wanted to let you know that your presentation has very clearly had a positive impact on my students (the final was FOUR months after the presentation)!
I think that your quest to educate students about healthy eating is awesome and if you do a presentation on another type of food in the future I would love for my classes to be a part of that great experience again!
Biology and AVID Teacher
Sullivan High School
Kim Yee, Washington School
Thank you so much for bringing the “world of citrus” to Washington K-2nd graders. Your sessions have been uniformly informative, interactive, stimulating to the senses, and above all, educational. Washington students and teachers have truly enjoyed your sessions and we look forward to our next encounter.”
Washington School Wellness Committee and PTA Co-President
Noe Torres, Sullivan High School
February 24, 2010
To Whom It May Concern:
Susan Taylor is a food writer for the Tribune and has published extensively in this area. She initiated “The Good Food Project” to deliver critical information on foods to students to help them develop a healthier relationship with quality foods and expand their knowledge base beyond store-bought-prepackaged-stuff. She has been at Sullivan for two years providing well received presentations to students on the rich diversity and delicious taste of wholesome foods.
Sullivan poses unique opportunities and challenges to this endeavor. We have a richly diverse student population, which is primarily poor and composed of diverse racial and ethnic groups. Students hail from Myanmar, Nepal, Somalia, Ghana, Pakistan, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Iraq, Belize, Jamaica, Haiti, and more. Some are here under the Refugee Resettlement Program. Others are immigrants in search of opportunities to better themselves. Some are neighborhood kids whose families have been in Rogers Park for generations. Some students have a strong connection to healthy traditional foods. Others subsist on highly processed items of limited nutritional value. It will be a great opportunity for Sullivan to foster community and wellness through a healthy relationship with our nourishment.
I wholeheartedly endorse this promising program. Faculty members have provided unequivocal endorsements on the excellence of Ms. Taylor’s presentations, and the critical nuggets of information that students obtain after attending these have been most
Noe Torres, LCSW
Karen Bradley, Dawes School
Thank you so much for bringing the Apple Tasting program to Dawes School. Although I wasn’t able to be here on the days you were here, so many teachers and students have come to tell me how much they enjoyed it and how much they learned.
As you know, kids need to have these types of experiences in describing, using their senses, trying something new, classifying, graphing, etc. Activities such as the ones you worked on with the kids are particularly helpful in our focus on wellness. Finally, the teachers were, of course, impressed with how engaged the students were and your interaction with them.
Thank you again. I hope you’ll keep us in mind for any future projects!
Sandy Pardys, Sullivan High School
May 21, 2009
Dear Ms. Taylor,
I want to thank you so much for the absolutely fabulous presentations that you made today to my three English classes, including two senior classes and one junior class. I had heard a “buzz” around the school about your presentation when you visited Cass Hale’s class earlier in the year, and decided it might be interesting for my students to have the opportunity to work with you. I was truly amazed by how good the presentation was and by how engaged my students were.
You worked with a variety of students, including honors level, regular level, and special needs students in an inclusion class. Students at all these levels were fascinated, engaged, and excited by your presentation. I was surprised by how interested the students were in the apple-tasting and by how much they seemed to learn about the vocabulary of food-tasting and apple varieties, as well as by how quickly they came to the realization that “healthy” food can be scrumptious (See, you even have me using the vocabulary!). I was very impressed by your easy manner and your ability to communicate with not only academically talented students, but some of the more difficult students we have at Sullivan. A number of students from each of the three classes you worked with told me later how much they enjoyed themselves and how much fun they had.
As you may have noticed when you asked students what foods they think of as being “crisp” and “crunchy,” in each class the very first response was “chips.” Only one student in the last class said anything (“carrots”) that approached a healthy food. I think that tells you how important the work you are doing is and how much the students need this kind of education. Thanks for making it so entertaining and interesting for them.
Please put me on the list of teachers you will visit again next fall. Now that I have seen you and your presentation in action, I look forward to helping a whole new group of teenagers learn that healthy food choices can actually be fun. As a teacher who is concerned with the “whole child” and not just the content that I teach, I think this is a very important lesson to which teens need to be introduced.
Barbara Kargas, Goethe School
December 7, 2008
On behalf of Goethe School we would like to extend our gratitude for the opportunity you gave us to learn about apples. The students loved being apple critics. They enjoyed learning about the variety of apples and since this experience, have become inquisitive each time an apple is served in the lunchroom. Discussions of tastes continue up to this day.
Students are taking their learning into other content areas as they read about apples, graph student favorites, and look at areas of the country in which the apples are grown. Many students continue to comment on being food critics and felt the opportunity to be a taste tester was worthwhile.
Students in all grades want you to come back next year and bring even more apples to taste. Teachers also enjoyed the projects and commented on what they learned as well.
Personally, we are now buying Honey Crisps on a regular basis and this comes from a person who did not enjoy apples unless they were drenched in taffy and covered in nuts. I enjoy a Honey Crisp each day without fail.
It is exciting for children to be hands-on opportunities to learn and connect their learning to other content areas. They also shared what they discovered with their families as we have heard that students are requesting their parents to buy the favorite apples they identified through your Apple Tasting Project.
We all hope you will be back next year with more to taste and learn.
Thanks again for this marvelous opportunity.
Principal, Goethe School
Beth Campe-Montcalm, Sullivan High School
December 6, 2009
A belated thank you for your wonderful presentation to my students at Sullivan High School. The tasting was great—but the idea of thinking about food in a completely different way was even better! Now when we have class celebrations, etc., the idea of serving fruit won’t be so foreign!
Brianne Rose Pitts, Passages Charter School
June 25, 2009
RE: The Good Food Project Apple Tasting
Dear Prospective Participants and Donors,
Susan Taylor’s Good Food Project apple tasting brought new excitement and joy to my second grade classroom. Not only did students have the opportunity to taste, smell, touch, and experience four varieties of apples, they also came away with the ability to speak critically about food. The vocabulary, sensory experience and overall encounter couldn’t be beat.
Not only was this lesson fun and exciting, it also connected to our study of life cycles, differentiation of species, mathematics (in graphing favorite types of apples), and language arts. My students also had the rare pleasure of being featured on Chicago Public Radio’s 848 in a segment called “Food Critic Passes on the Joy of Food.” You may hear the piece at http://www.wbez.org/Content.aspx?audioID=34740 or on the Good Food Project website. If you take a moment to read the comments following this segment, it is apparent that Susan’s work is both appreciated and needed in our current “Fast Food Nation.” Susan is making a difference, one taste bud at a time.
As for the students served, our school is a very diverse, low-income, immigrant and refugee charter campus. Although we have a longer school day and specialized curriculum, we lack in the financial capabilities sometimes necessary to provide experiential learning to our students. Although we’d like to invite Ms. Taylor back to share her this experience with all our students, we are unable to compensate her for the expertise and materials.
If you are able to support The Good Food Project’s work, monetarily as a guest in your school, I urge you to do so. Ms. Taylor’s enthusiasm for apples, delight in student excitement, and generosity of spirit is unparalleled in our public schools. This is the experiential learning our students so badly need.
Thank you for your time and please feel welcome to contact me with questions or for more information.
Brianne Rose Pitts
Second Grade Teacher and Curriculum Committee Chair
Passages Charter School
Benjamin Hofmann, Sullivan High School
December 2, 2010
Over the course of the last three months, my Special Education classroom, consisting primarily of individuals with autism, has benefited greatly from working with Susan Taylor and the Good Food Project on several instructional units. For starters, the classroom tastings introduced many of our students to the wide variety of apples available and helped to increase interest in healthy foods. It can often be difficult to get some of our students with special needs to try new foods, but Ms. Taylor’s apple slinky and her enthusiasm empowered many of our students to give healthy eating a try. The positive reaction to the amazing fruit was obvious to everyone that helped out with the lesson.
However, by far the most beneficial aspect of our working with the Good Food Project was their help in developing, running, and successfully establishing a Farmer’s Market right here at Sullivan High School. The vocational skills practiced and acquired over the course of this sale helped all of our students develop the skills necessary to find success in the transition from school to work. Those skills include: sorting products based upon different traits such as size, color, and/or quality. In addition, the students practiced counting out exact amounts of items, developing one to one correspondence skills in a functional manner that reinforces the importance of accuracy over repeated trials. The classroom worked on social and vocational skills when handing out free samples of delicious apples during pre-sale activities, providing numerous excellent opportunities to interact in a new way, outside the classroom, with general education students whom will also benefit from exposure to healthy foods.
Other skills worked on during the Farmer’s Market include creating posters to advertise the sale; keeping records of purchases/orders (all done by the students); delivering bags of apples to the correct person; making change using a variety of coins and bills; counting out the amount of money made at the end of a sale; maintaining an organized cash register; keeping track of inventory; learning the importance and characteristics of quality food handling and storage, recycling skills, and cleaning skills; maintaining a sanitary work environment learning how to clean/polish apples in order to make them presentable for sale; and general organizational skills that are beneficial in both vocational and academic settings. All of these skills can be transferred to additional Farmer’s Market sales and then to numerous settings outside of the school.
Without a doubt, the development of a Farmer’s Market at Sullivan High School was a huge success on a number of different levels. First of all, one thousand pounds of apples were sold or given away as free samples to a student body that does not always have access to such high quality fruit. Second, our student employees and volunteers gained critical vocational experiences that can be added to resumes. Third, the sale itself helped improve critical social skills for students with special needs such as autism through repeated interactions with a large number of classmates. Finally, the Good Food Project helped to empower the students in Sullivan’s autism classroom to play a substantial role in providing healthy foods to everyone in the Sullivan community.
We would love to continue to develop the Farmer’s Market program into a model that can be used in other special education programs throughout the area. Since one thousand pounds of apples were sold here at Sullivan, it is clear that there is a market for this kind of activity and a motivated group of students with autism willing and able to support it. This program is a perfect example of a mutually beneficial enterprise that would have a positive impact on any school in which it is implemented. The staff here at Sullivan, along with Good Food Project, would love to continue modeling those benefits. There are limited opportunities for students with autism and/or special needs to shine in front of peers and on the actual day of the Farmer’s Market it was very clear to everyone present how valuable that kind of positive attention and responsibility really is for people. I was so proud to see my students taking charge, learning new skills, and working with each other to help make our sale the great success that it was.
Special Education Teacher
Sullivan High School