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    Outdoor Education Update December 2020
    Posted on 12/09/2020

    Outdoor Education Update December 2020

    At the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, the Seattle School Board adopted Resolution 2020/21-4, which calls for outdoor/community education pilots to begin that will inform the work of an Outdoor and Community Education Task Force. This is one solution for bringing back more students for in-person learning during remote instruction and provides an opportunity for personal connection that many of our students asked for in the recent pulse survey. The full results of this survey will be posted Friday, December 11.

    Since that time, Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction (CAI) staff have created an application process which includes safety protocols, including daily student health attestation, for outdoor and community education pilots. Educators were invited to submit proposals and, thus far, there are five applications in process for part-time outdoor learning pilots. These five applications represent a variety of types of classrooms or approaches, including a music class, career and technical education (CTE) class, and supporting English Learners. The names of the educators, the schools they represent, and the specifics of what the students will be doing in the outdoor education pilots will be communicated once proposals are approved. Once pilot proposals have been approved, student transportation will be provided if needed. All safety precautions, especially COVID-19 precautions, will be followed on the district-provided transportation.

    Proposals for outdoor/community education pilots will remain open through this school year. Once an educator or educators have completed the application form, it needs to be approved by the school building principal. It is then reviewed by a cross-departmental team at the central office within 5 business days. Proposals are also provided to the Seattle Education Association (SEA) for their review.

    Once proposals are approved by the cross-departmental team, a central team then goes to the outdoor learning site to do a walk-through and review of the proposed learning space. The same safety protocols that must be followed for in-person learning in our buildings must be addressed in the outdoor spaces. The site review includes examination of the entry and exit points for students, access to restrooms, transportation drop-off and pick-up, and other information relevant to the outdoor pilot proposal. All current applicants have a covered area for use during inclement weather. It will be up to the educator/school if in-person outdoor education is cancelled and moved to asynchronous learning due to weather. In the case of snow and full building closures, these programs would follow the district decision.

    The educator of the outdoor pilot will be responsible for planning the instruction, just as if class was being conducted in school or remotely. All students within the class or school group must be given the opportunity to participate in the pilot. The educator will also determine the schedule of the outdoor pilot. Some educators may choose to conduct the outdoor pilot one day per week and other educators may choose to do so more frequently.

    The Board and district staff are also assembling an Outdoor and Community Education Task Force. This task force will monitor and learn from the pilots in order to provide additional guidance to support expanded access at additional schools. Applications to join the Outdoor Education Task Force will be open until December 16, 2020. You can apply for the task force.

    We will continue to provide updates about the Outdoor and Community Education pilots and task force throughout the school year.