Grow Portland PT School Garden Educator (Close Aug 20)

Grow Portland

Part Time School Garden Educator


Grow Portland is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the expansion of urban gardening. This position will instruct and coordinate our garden education program at four public schools with a focus on low-income schools in North and Northeast Portland. Grow Portland’s Garden School program uses school garden education to teach students about science and healthy eating. Our efforts create vibrant and productive school gardens that engage the entire school community. Grow Portland believes that all students should have access to the immediate and long-term health benefits of garden education during the school day. We place skilled garden educators in public schools to provide garden instruction and to facilitate productive garden management in partnership with teachers, administrators and parents. In collaboration with the classroom teacher, the Educator leads 30-minute lessons for six to eight full classrooms each garden education day. Each school receives two or three full education days per month.


  • Four+ years of work experience in agricultural/horticultural/science or environmental education desired.

  • Proven skills in gardening, teaching and working in complex institutions.

  • Knowledge of scientific principles connected to gardening.

  • A high level of energy and patience sufficient to lead six-to-eight garden classes in a day.

  • Excellent writing, speaking, listening, organization, and administrative skills.

  • Bachelor degree is preferred. Credentialed teachers encouraged to apply.

  • Skills and experience producing organic vegetables in the Pacific Northwest:  crop planning, soil fertility, tillage, weed management, irrigation, post-harvest handling. 

  • Experience and skill working with diverse ethnic groups and cultures.

  • Ability and willingness to work independently and to follow directions closely.

  • Proactive communication skills and emotional intelligence.

  • Demonstrated record keeping skills and attention to detail.

  • Physical ability level suitable to accomplish strenuous physical work including heavy lifting, hot, cold and dirty conditions.


  • Approximately 20 hours/week, September to May with summer work a possibility. Starting hourly wage at around $20/hr with paid time off. Half-funded health insurance coverage is available through Grow Portland’s group insurance plan with Providence Health. Additional hours may be available for this position in the future.

  • Be available most Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

  • Work approximately 11 full days per month during the school year: teach eight days per month (two days/month at each school). Additionally, work up to 20 hours per month on lesson planning, class preparation, community engagement and site needs.

  •  Additional summer work may be availability with funding and opportunities. The Educator is expected to take a role in developing summer programming and partnerships if summer work is desired.

  • Start working late August with training and site and preparation.


The Garden School Educator leads Grow Portland’s school gardening program at assigned public schools. The Educator provides expert garden-based education, garden maintenance and leads the engagement of teachers and parents. The Educator completes the needed lesson planning, site needs and partnership building to make the program successful.


 Partnership Building and Management

  • Serve as the lead contact to facilitate a productive relationship with teachers, administrators, parents and students. Communicate regularly with teachers, administrators and parents on the workings and progress of the program.

  • Orient teachers and parents at the beginning of the school year with meetings and print/emailed materials. 

  • Work with a lead teacher or administrator to schedule six to eight classes on each education day: record the schedule on the master Grow Portland schedule.

  • Remind teachers of each education day in advance by email and in person the day of class.

  • Keep Grow Portland signage and program information available at the garden entrance.

  • Promote parent and community Involvement in the gardens.

Planning and Scheduling

  • Work with lead teachers and administrators to schedule days and times for classes before the school year starts.

  • Work with lead teachers and administrators to orient teachers on expectations and protocols of the program.

  • Prepare short science lessons and hands-on activities to deliver in the garden or in the classroom during extreme winter weather.

  • Obtain, maintain and organize needed educational and growing supplies.

  • Utilize open-source and Grow Portland curriculum resources to develop lessons in advance of each education day.

  • Collaborate and share curriculum resources with other local school gardening organizations.

  • Work toward lesson integration with school standards such as Next Generation Science standards.

  • Work with schools to encourage parent involvement in maintenance and education.

Instruct students in hands-on and theoretical education

  • Deliver lessons to full classes on pre-scheduled garden days—two or three days per month at each school.

  • Deliver short lessons about garden-based science concept.

  • Provide indoor garden themed lessons during extreme winter weather.

  • Lead students in hands on planting and eating activities.

School Gardens Site Management

  • Keep the school garden sites safe, productive and beautiful.

  • Collaborate with school staff, parent volunteers and students to complete basic management of school gardens (watering, weeding, mulching, bed clearing and turnover). Lead the management of school garden sites through direct work and/or delegation of work to parent volunteers.

  • Collaborate to install and maintain drip irrigation systems.

  • Keep Garden School supplies and tools well stocked and orderly: seeds, soil amendments, tools, etc.

  • Engage volunteers in periodic work events for garden maintenance.

  • Hold or delegate periodic community and parent led work events.

Evaluation and Tracking

  • Record lesson materials on Grow Portland’s shared drive online.

  • Complete daily progress report and tracking forms.

  • Measure student learning progress through daily response questions and bi-annual food preference forms.

  • Measure program impacts through bi-annual teacher evaluations.

  • Solicit program testimonials from parents, teachers, administrators and students. 

Application and Hiring Process Information and Instructions

 Apply by August 20th. Submit: 1) a cover letter addressing how your skills, experience and goals relate to this position and,  2) a one-to-two page resume (one page is preferred). Submit the documents together as one PDF file by email to dbeller at growportland dot org. We will contact the most qualified candidates for an interview. This position starts in late August.