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Cable's Leaders in Learning Awards 2008

The 2008 Cable’s Leaders in Learning Awards winners include educators who are sharing effective teaching methods worldwide via blogs and streaming videos, connecting students to their communities while raising money for orphans in South Africa, producing a student-led documentary on the fabled Bronx borough of New York City, or providing parents a way to connect with their children’s teachers through ATM-like kiosks in grocery stores among other innovative approaches.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Gary Olsen, District Adminstrator, Dubuque Community School District, Iowa

Gary Olsen was recognized for his creation of “The Garden Organic.” The cable television reality show teaches young students how to grow and prepare their own food, in partnerships with Hy-Vee Foods, Steve’s Ace Home & Garden Center and the Iowa State University Extension Office. The program combines science, math, culture and the history of food along with basic food how-to’s: growing, harvesting, preparing and preserving. Students are taped as they set out on their challenge to grow an organic garden with no artificial or non-organic pesticides, fertilizers or herbicides. The series, now in its fourth year, is broadcast on a Dubuque Community School’s own full-time 24/7 cable channel provided by Mediacom Cable.

In his podcast (MP3, 12 MB), Olsen recounts humorous events that have occurred during filming of "The Garden Organic," and what the kids and community have taken away from this educational reality show. He also talks about how significant business and community partnerships have been to the show.

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