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Outdoor Learning Technical Assistance

Background 
The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), Division of Health and Wellness (H&W) plans to work with a contractor to provide technical assistance to school personnel in District public and public charter schools to establish outdoor learning spaces1 to maximize the number of students engaged in outdoor learning2

Technical assistance will include:

  • Five, two-hour virtual training sessions;
  • A one-hour site assessment; and
  • A guidance document.

Application Submission 

Schools must apply here to receive technical assistance. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until Nov. 15, 2021. Schools will be prioritized that have a 1 or 2 STAR score.3 Up to 50 percent of applying schools that do not have a 1 or 2 STAR score will receive technical assistance.

Requirements 

  • At least one staff member will participate in each of the five, two-hour virtual training sessions, for a total of 10 hours of training per school. A team of at least three staff members should complete the Outdoor Learning 101 training prior to the site assessment.
  • Participants may engage in a live session or recorded webinar. Participants can change for each training session.
  • At least one staff member will participate in a one-hour site assessment with the contractor. This will take place at the school.
  • At least one staff member will serve as the point of contact to coordinate a presentation to school staff of the site assessment, site plan, and guidance document.
  • Designate at least one outdoor learning space that will be used weekly by students

Application

Outdoor Learning Training Series

  • Outdoor Learning 101
  • Creating Buy in for Using Outdoor Learning Spaces on Nov. 17, 2021: Register
  • Planning and Creating Outdoor Learning Spaces on Jan. 27, 2022: Register
  • Group Management Outdoors on March 2, 2022: Register
  • Teaching and Learning Strategies on April 21, 2022: Register

If you have questions, please contact Grace Manubay, environmental literacy coordinator, Division of Health and Wellness, at [email protected].



1Outdoor learning space is defined as any outside area where students and teachers can work together to learn, discuss, and explore. Outdoor learning spaces can be the temporary conversion of areas of school grounds, or it can be part of a larger initiative to create new outdoor teaching structures or enhance existing areas. The space can also be used for other school activities, such as meals, school-based behavioral health services, or student activity club meetings. At a minimum, site plans for outdoor learning spaces include considerations for protection from weather elements, seating, teaching supplies, and storage.

2Outdoor learning includes various activities outside during the school day and out of school time, such as instruction, meals, recess, and physical activity. Outdoor learning activities might include, but are not limited to, morning meetings, reading circles, lessons across all subject areas, and social-emotional learning. 

3The School Transparency and Reporting (STAR) Framework is the accountability framework for public schools in the District of Columbia. Each year, all schools receive a score of 1 to 5 stars, with 5 being the highest based on performance across multiple metrics, including Academic Achievement, Academic Growth, School Environment, English Language Proficiency, Graduation Rate (HS and Alt Schools), and Educational Progress (Alt Schools).