Manzo Elementary featured in “Edible Baja Arizona”


by David Safier

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 2.20.55 PMTUSD's Manzo Elementary, which has received local and national recognition for it ecological education program, complete with rain water cisterns, vegetable gardens, chickens and tilapia, is featured in the current issue of Edible Baja Arizona. It's a good looking magazine with lots of interesting stuff. If you want to see the Manzo article without e-thumbing through the rest of the mag, it begins on page 42.

I'm not a big AIMS score supporter and even less enthralled with the A-F school grading system. But I have to say, when Manzo went from a D to a solid C for its state grade, I let out a whoop of joy. A "C" is a solid score for a school with Manzo's student population, and it took the school off academic probation.

I'm from the educational school of thought that believes experiential education and arts education are vital parts of schooling and don't detract from achievement in reading, writing and math. When they're incorporated into the curriculum, they should enhance students' abilities in what are called "basic skills." That's why I was so cheered to see Manzo showing the doubters that it's not either/or. Ideally, it's both/and.


  1. I grew up in an environment in which we grew tomatoes, watermelon, cantelope and had chickens, which unfortunately, we ate. There is something enormously educational about seeing something so large as a watermelon grow from a tiny seed.

  2. I love that Manzo demonstrates that schools that serve primarily lower income students do not have to operate primarily as test prep factories to have success. I recognize that different students thrive in different environments and have no doubt that there are students for whom a program of relentless focus on test scores, like C.E. Rose, is a good fit. Also, parents who have high levels of educational attainment chose a variety of models for their kids, some of them pretty rigid back to basics types. But I think that a significant portion of parents in the upper end of attainment seek more creative and interesting schooling models and have faith that a good program with good teachers will result in a good education for their kids. Unfortunately, we do not give enough credence to this type of schooling to implement it for schools with more at-risk students. This is my sense from reading about education, but, no, I have not cited studies and so do not claim this is data-driven proof. I just celebrate Manzo’s creative curriculum in the best interests of their kids and TUSD’s support of it.

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