Though the percentage of schools with gardens is growing nationwide, schools with higher percentages of students from low-income families are less likely to have school gardens. Robert Bruce Elementary in Santa Maria has a high percentage of low-income students (96.7% qualified for the Free and Reduced School Meals Program). Following national trends, this school did not have access to a school garden, and 51.2% of its 5th grade students were found to need improvement in aerobic capacity on the CA Physical Fitness Report, as opposed to 35.1% of 5th graders in the county. Within its school district, this school was often referred to as the “forgotten school” in terms of school beautification.
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