The Good School Food Instructor leads all aspects of Jones Valley Teaching Farm’s food and nutrition education program in one of our six partner schools.
The Good School Food (GSF) Instructor will design and deliver rigorous and innovative gardenbased curricula with the support of the Jones Valley Teaching Farm (JVTF) education team. The Instructor will coordinate the day-to-day management of the Farm Lab space and maintain the site with the support of a Teaching Farm Fellow. This work requires a high degree of self-reliance, confidence ,and initiative at the school level. A successful candidate must possess extraordinary professionalism, flexibility, intuitiveness, and organization and communication skills. In addition, the GSF Instructor must be comfortable and enjoy working with our energetic, high-performing team to develop original content that is relevant and effective in an urban public school district serving many students from low resource communities.
Jones Valley Teaching Farm
Jones Valley Teaching Farm (JVTF) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) located in Birmingham, Alabama. We design innovative, hands-on food education programs that improve student learning and increase student access to healthy food. Through our urban teaching farms and partnerships with schools, more than 17,000 students have been educated through our programs over the last four years.
In 2012, JVTF launched Good School Food (GSF), our in-school food education model, in a Pre-K–5 Birmingham City School. We have since expanded this program to six total partner schools, including five in a distinct Pre-K–12 feeder pattern.
GSF is designed to improve education and health outcomes for students. We achieve this by designing and building teaching farms, known as Farm Labs, on school campuses and providing our partner schools with full-time instructors who collaborate with teachers to develop and deliver programs and curricula that align food and nutrition concepts with learning goals in math, science, social studies, engineering, and language arts.
Our work in schools is guided by these principles:
1. Education should be holistic and student-centered. Every student’s voice matters.
2. Public schools are community hubs capable of great things.
3. Investing directly in teachers maximizes impact on students.
4. Hands-on, experiential, and project-based education improves students’ content retention and attitudes towards learning.
5. Design-thinking strategies can be used in education to prototype, test, and refine ideas quickly to discover the best solutions for students.
Teaching, Lesson Development, and Documentation
● Design and conduct daily Farm Lab classes for students in grades Pre-K–5 OR grades 6–8.
● Design and lead Farm Lab Club and Farmer’s Market Club, our after-school programs
● Lead summer programming for Farm Lab Club and Farm Studio
● Collaborate with teachers and administrators to develop a framework for relevant and rigorous lessons
● Collaborate with JVTF staff in the development and documentation of cross-curricular Farm Lab lessons that are integrated with classroom teaching and core academic standards
● Work with our education team to design and produce teaching and visual aids for Farm Lab classes
● Provide written feedback on lessons taught to improve their quality and rigor over time
● Implement assessments effectively and consistently
● Create a safe, structured, and warm learning environment for all students
● Mentor individual students in and out of class, model respect and curiosity for learning, and encourage students’ interests and talents
● Meet weekly with the entire education team and weekly with education director/curriculum specialist for personal check ins
● Work collaboratively with the Farm Director to create a superior outdoor learning environment,
maintaining a high standard of aesthetics and productivity overseeing all aspects of crop production, soil management, and produce marketing, and student-centered farm management
● Guide students in general maintenance of the Farm Lab with specific focus on compost, harvest, propagation, and cultivation
● With supervision and support from Farm Director, manage maintenance repairs and
improvements of equipment and facilities; organize equipment, materials, and supplies;
maintain safety, security, and general appearance of the site; and complete general site
● Maintain detailed Farm Lab related records and reports
● Communicate regularly with JVTF colleagues
● Maintain healthy relationships with JVTF staff, school staff, students, parents, community members and JVTF affiliates
● Participate in JVTF staff meetings and professional development
● Adhere to school system rules, administrative procedures, local board policies, and state and federal rules and regulations that are a regular part of a public school system
What We Look For
● Believers in the power of education and food
● Undergraduate degree in related field preferred
● A minimum of 1-3 years experience teaching youth
● Demonstrated experience in lesson and curriculum development
● A positive and constructive attitude, self-direction, self- motivation
● An openness and drive for learning, assessing, and improving your work and the ability to hear, reflect upon, and implement feedback
● An understanding of organic and sustainable growing practices
● Ability to safely and skillfully operate and provide basic maintenance of a variety of farm equipment, hand tools, power equipment, and farm vehicles
● Must be physically capable of participating in the physically demanding needs of gardening and landscape work
● A willingness to innovate and contribute to the growth and evolution of JVTF as an organization
● Criminal background check and a valid driver’s license required
● Growth: This is a true opportunity for working at the community level, making decisions that impact the growth and development of a nonprofit with ambitious goals, and impacting students. Through this job, you will have an immediate platform for fast but thoughtful professional and personal growth.
● Culture: We take care of one another at JVTF. You are not expected to be anyone but yourself.
● Good Food: We have one of the most robust and productive urban farms in the country, and our staff has access to fresh organic produce all year long.
Duration and Compensation
The Good School Food Instructor position is a year-round, full-time position. Competitive compensation packages include salary, health benefits, and paid vacation. This position begins June 13, 2016.
To apply, please send a cover letter and résumé with “Good School Food Instructor” in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org. In this cover letter, please highlight previous relevant experience. Applications will be accepted until the positions are filled. No phone calls or drop-ins, please.