Fox River Academy
Jefferson Elementary - Gr. 1-6
1000 S Mason St.
Appleton, WI  54914
(920) 832-4848

Wilson Middle - Gr. 7-8
225 N Badger Ave.
(920) 832-4848

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Community Resources

As part of its mission, Fox River Academy strives to educate students who are stewards of the environment and responsible members of the community. Below are some helpful links for those interested in the community-based stewardship mission of Fox River Academy. 

Solar Panels

In 2009, Fox River Academy installed solar panels on the Green Teaching Building adjacent to Jefferson Elementary.  As part of the project, FRA envisioned a portal that would allow the students and community to see real time tracking of the array's performance.  Are you interested in seeing the impact our solar panels are making to our overall energy use?  Click below to view the real time usage:

FRA's PV Real Time Tracking

Community Garden

Also, in conjunction with Jefferson Elementary, Fox River Academy participates in a Community Garden Project that enables students to learn about plant growth and sustainability issues related to community gardening. Check out this article about the Teaching Garden:

Reprinted with permission of the Post Crescent, originally posted June 6, 2006:
Teaching garden brings co
 Picture unavailable
Maddy Mahoney, 9, a fourth-grader at Jefferson Elementary School in Appleton, gets a closer look at the flowers growing in the Pierce Park Neighborhood Teaching Garden during Monday's grand opening at Pierce Park. The garden, near Jefferson Elementary School, will be a "neighborhood classroom" where people will learn to prepare the soil, grow their food, and preserve and prepare what they raise. Post-Crescent photo by Mike De Sisti
To get involved

The Pierce Park Neighborhood Teaching Garden is on park property behind Jefferson Elementary School in Appleton, 1000 S. Mason St.
Sites have been allocated for this growing season, but tending of the garden's five raised beds is open to people who live or work in the Jefferson school community. A series of classes revolving around the garden also is in the works. To learn more, call Susan Richardson, the Community Garden Partnership's urban garden coordinator, at 920-832-5119.

On the Web

To learn more about the teaching garden, go to Goodwill Industries at Click on "Programs & Services," then "Diversity-focused Programs and Services," then "Community Garden Partnership," then "Teaching Garden mini Web site."
mmunity together

Appleton's Pierce Park site a partnership of neighbors, schools, groups

By Kara Patterson
Post-Crescent staff writer

APPLETON — Fox River Academy students Miranda and Nicholas Verhagen will play a crucial role in the cultivation of the new Pierce Park Neighborhood Teaching Garden: They'll help water it.

The Verhagen family has volunteered this growing season to tend one of five raised beds that make up the teaching garden, a grass-roots pilot project designed to draw the Appleton neighborhood's residents, students and employees closer to nature and each other.

"We went to Menards and bought some sunflower seeds," said fifth-grader Nicholas, 11. "They're supposed to get about 6 feet tall."

The teaching garden officially opened Monday on park property behind Jefferson Elementary School. The school also houses elementary grades of the Fox River Academy, a public charter school that focuses on environmental education.

"This gives kids more autonomy to get outside and get some of that soil between their hands," said Sandy Vander Velden, who teaches the charter school's third- and fourth-graders.

Representatives of key partners — including Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin Inc., the Community Garden Partnership and the Appleton Neighborhood Revitalization Program — cut a string barrier festooned with seed packets and then let students explore. They all received take-home seeds.

"I was thinking, the flowers we're getting, maybe I could put them in (the teaching garden)," said third-grader Miranda, 9.

She had chosen packets with pictures of purple coneflowers and a money plant whose petals, with a little imagination, resemble silver dollars.

There now are six Community Garden Partnership sites in Outagamie, Winnebago and Calumet counties, but each is a direct reflection of its environment, said urban garden coordinator Susan Richardson.

In the teaching garden, two beds represent Jefferson and charter school families. A third bed stands as an outdoor classroom for the charter school. The fourth and fifth beds are reserved so community members can plant herbs and flowers.

Peter Capaul, whose daughter Amanda is a Jefferson kindergartner, walked with his younger daughter Calista, 3, around the garden Monday and said he values the extra lessons in store for students.

"It's really a vital part of understanding, not only growing things and how things grow but responsibility, and (what it means) to develop a stake in something," said Capaul.

If all goes well, additional teaching gardens may take root at Edison Elementary School and Wilson Middle School, said Jim Vanden Boom, Appleton's neighborhood revitalization coordinator.

Today, Cynthia Verhagen, whose family lives in Grand Chute, plans to dig into the dirt. She's hoping for a yield of tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupe, carrots, beets and radishes.

In coming years, students may be able to enjoy a "salad day" with greens and vegetables they pick straight from the garden, Vander Velden said. Soon, though, the charter school will plant the seeds for fall fun.

"Our goal here is to put in pumpkins," she said.

Kara Patterson can be reached at 920-993-1000, ext. 215, or by e-mail at



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