At an urban L.A. school, nature grows — and test scores too: At Leo Politi Elementary, workers ripped out concrete and planted native flora. The plants attracted insects, which attracted birds, which attracted students, who, fascinated by the nature unfolding before them, learned so much that their science test scores rose sixfold.
Definitely your feel-good story of the day. Listen to these kids:
“What is a pattern?” asked Rhieman, a retired principal teaching under a special contract funded by private donations.
“Something that repeats,” several students said in unison.
“Like the roller-coaster flight of a lesser goldfinch,” added another.
Photo: In partnership with Los Angeles Audubon, Leo Politi in 2008 became one of the first elementary schools in the city to apply for and win “schoolyard habitat” and partner’s grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times