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Spruce Elementary’s Garden of Delight

Spruce Elementary third grade teacher Jacqueline Del Bianco is retiring after almost 25 years with South San Francisco Unified School District (SSFUSD).
Although her teaching career will officially come to an end at the end of the 2021-22 school year, she will not be going far.
She said she plans to return to Spruce as a volunteer in order to help maintain the garden next to her classroom.
“I will be coming back and setting up classes for the garden and really just keep the garden rolling,” she said. “I would not want to let all this go, because we’ve come too far.”
According to Del Bianco, the garden pre-dated her arrival at Spruce Elementary.
However, there was nothing but rocks and dirt there when she arrived 10 years ago.
“Now we have a lot of good plants growing, and we’ve got crops growing now,” she said, “and the kids just love it so much, anyway.”
A lemon tree, snap peas, cilantro, pumpkins, and potatoes are some of the fruits and vegetables that Del Bianco and her students have managed to coax out of the soil.  
To make the garden bloom, Del Bianco has received help from the district, which put in a sprinkler system, as well as various individuals who have donated gardening materials and money over the years.
“Our garden does a lot for our students here,” said Del Bianco. “The kids like the garden, because it gives them a sense of self. . .A lot of our students live in apartments, and it’s a special place for them, so they like to keep it clean and nice, and they get a lot of pride being able to come out here and work.”
While Spruce Elementary is fortunate to have a garden that can provide students with lessons about nature, it’s clear that the school is equally fortunate to have a teacher like Ms. Del Bianco.