This is an exciting time for Oregon and for Oregon’s 5th and 6th grade students as OSU Extension works in collaboration with schools, partners, and communities to launch the statewide Outdoor School program, building on a legacy that began in 1966.
Outdoor School for All! Diverse Programming and Outcomes in Oregon is a participatory evaluation effort building understanding and knowledge about current outdoor school programming and its intended outcomes. This is an ongoing collaborative project of the Outdoor School Program and the Oregon Environmental Literacy Program, with support from the Gray Family Foundation and the Friends of Outdoor School.
Beginning in 2016, key stakeholders, including outdoor school providers, teachers, administrators, students, and others across the state came together to build understanding and knowledge about current outdoor school programming and intended outcomes. We built a common measurement system based on legislative requirements, a wide variety of data sources, existing literature/knowledge base and substantial input from stakeholders. Data gathered in this project are expected to support several elements of the statewide program. These include:
- legislative reporting requirements (OR-SB 439);
- community engagement and outreach;
- diversity, equity and inclusion;
- program and curriculum development;
- professional development and learning; and
- research, evaluation and assessment.
The attached report details findings from a 2018 pilot study of outdoor schools across the state of Oregon including survey results from students, educators, and providers. A link to the report in high resolution may also be found here on the Gray Family Foundation website:
Outdoor School Informational Fliers are now Available in Eight Languages and in Braille
Copies of the flier "Outdoor School - Learning in the world's best outdoor classroom" are available in English, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Somali, and Arabic. We've also had the English language flier transcribed to Braille. Please don't hesitate to contact us to request copies for parents or students attending your upcoming outdoor school planning and information sessions!
Reminder for the Parents and Teachers of Oregon's 4th Grade Students
Every Kid in a Park (the Interagency 4th Grade Pass) passes are still available for 4th Grade Students. These passes are honored nationwide at all Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Fish & Wildlife Service sites charging entrance or standard amenity fees. They admit the pass holder and any accompanying passengers in a private non-commercial vehicle, and at per-person fee areas, they admit the pass holder and up to 3 people who are 16 and older (for a maximum of four people). Anyone 15 and younger is free of charge.
Please don't hesitate to contact us at email@example.com or 541-737-4391 if you have any questions about the Outdoor School Program!
OSU PROMISE Interns Spend Their Summer Creating Outdoor School Videos
PROMISE Interns Hevani Fifti and Laura Zepeda did a fantastic job of capturing wonderful footage at two outdoor school facilities this summer, and creating this and several other short videos that we'll feature on our website this fall.
Information and Listening Sessions
The Outdoor School Measure 99 Funding Information and Listening Session in Pendleton (August 9, 2018) was a great success. This was an opportunity for Eastern Oregon District Superintendents, Principals, and 5th or 6th Grade Educators to ask questions, plan for next year, and learn how your district can get involved (or stay involved) in outdoor school. A video of each segment of the session is provided below. We realize that the quality of these videos leaves much to be desired and we apologize if you find that they are not helpful. We'll work on getting a more professional set up at our next session!
We're hoping to host more sessions soon - with possible locations being Ashland, Salem, and Eugene. Please stay tuned!
To be added to our stakeholder email list and receive periodic status updates and announcements, please fill out the online subscription form (button below).
Announcing New Outdoor School Staff Members
It is with great excitement that we announce the final three members to your OSU Extension Outdoor School Team. Starting on October 22nd, please welcome:
- Benno Lyon, our new Portland Metro Area Regional Coordinator
- Sarah Cuddy, our new Eastern Oregon Regional Coordinator
- Amy Hoffman, our new Southern Oregon Regional Coordinator
Benno Lyon (based in the Portland-Metro Area) has been an Outdoor School advocate since attending the program in 6th grade, which led to him working as an environmental educator and a middle school science teacher for nearly 20 years. Benno is eager to help expand access to experiential, outdoor science education for all students, particularly the most underserved and marginalized communities of the Portland Metro region. Benno earned his B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon in 1997, and his Masters in Teaching from Pacific University in 2002. Benno lives on four acres near the Sandy River, and spends much of his time with his wife and two children, growing vegetables, hiking the riverbank, and trying to be a good steward of the land he calls home.
Sarah Cuddy (based in Baker City) has spent nearly a decade as an outdoor educator; leading experiential based leadership expeditions all across the west. She joins us most recently from a statewide non-profit where she worked as a community organizer advocating for Oregon's public lands. Sarah has a BS in Environmental Science and a minor in Biology from the University of Oregon. As a life-long Oregonian, Sarah attended outdoor school as a 6th grader and is passionate about making outdoor school and outdoor experiences more accessible to all of Oregon's youth. In her free time, Sarah enjoys exploring remote parts of eastern Oregon's high deserts and forests with her husband Ethan and their dog Cody. She enjoys being outside in many forms, but has a special affinity for backpacking and fly-fishing.
Amy Hoffman (based in Ashland) has a background in natural resources and science education and most recently was teaching science education courses and coordinating an online graduate program. Amy has over a decade of experience in environmental education leading hands-on, experiential place-based programming designed for K-16 students, educators, and the general community. She led student driven service learning projects, worked closely with teachers and school districts, and developed and piloted curriculum. Amy also managed and mentored volunteers, student interns and AmeriCorps members, organized large events, and was very active in community outreach. Amy is passionate about connecting learners to our great outdoors through inquiry and action in their local communities.
Join our team
Please return here for links to other outdoor school related job openings. We also encourage everyone who is interested in Outdoor School to sign up for our stakeholder email list to receive periodic program updates and announcements (see “Stay connected,” above).
The 2017-2018 reimbursement period is closed. Please contact us with questions regarding your application.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us or call 541-737-4391 with questions regarding Measure 99 funding, 2017-2018 reimbursements (reports were due June 15, 2018), the 2018-2019 application or reporting process, or the 2019-2020 application process.
Note to Non-public/Private Schools
OSU is committed to providing an outdoor school experience to Oregon 5th and 6th graders within the funding allocations and requirements of the law. ORS 327.390 limits eligibility for Outdoor School program grants to school districts and education service districts. Many public schools currently allow temporary enrollment for home school and/or private school students in order to access services such as special education, sports programs, and foreign language courses. Similarly, families of private school or homeschooled students may temporarily enroll their students in their local public school for the duration of outdoor school programming offered by that district. Any student enrolled as a public school student at the time of outdoor school would be able to attend the district’s public school outdoor school programming through Measure 99 funds.
Enrollment decisions are determined by individual districts. As a result, local public school districts’ policies may vary. Families are encouraged to work with their current schools to seek guidance on enrolling their students (dual enrollment) for the purpose of outdoor school for the 2019-2020 academic year.
- Students must be enrolled (or dually enrolled) in and attend a public school district’s official outdoor school programming to be eligible for Measure 99 funding
- Private schools may not directly apply for Measure 99 funds
- Districts may begin claiming students enrolled (dual enrollment) for the sole purpose of outdoor school on the 2019-2020 funding application (to launch early spring 2019)
- Back payments or reimbursements for private school students who previously attended outdoor school through a public school program are not available for the 2017-2018 (first year of measure 99 funding)
- Private schools who wish to conduct their own outdoor school programming may continue to apply for funding through the Gray Family Foundation.
Note to Charter Schools and Districts Serving Charter Schools
As public schools, charter schools are eligible for Outdoor School program funding. A charter school’s Outdoor School program does not need to mirror other schools in the overall school district (e.g., length, provider, etc.). A charter school interested in applying for funds should contact their sponsoring school district and request to be included in the district-wide application. Funding will flow through the school district to any applicable charter schools. If a district is not submitting an application, a charter school may choose to work with their Educational Service District (ESD). The four state-sponsored charter schools can choose to apply themselves or be included within the District/ESD application. All districts should ensure they have included any eligible charter schools who wish to participate in their overall application.
Outdoor School Columbia Pro Purchase Program
The OSU Extension Service Outdoor School Program Office is pleased to announce the Outdoor School Columbia Pro Purchase Program!
Columbia Sportswear has a strong history of supporting outdoor school in Oregon. And as District Leaders, Educators, and Outdoor School Providers begin to consider outdoor school equipment and apparel for their students, teachers, and staff, the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School Program Office would like to announce an exciting opportunity for districts and providers to purchase high-quality “tough tested” products at a discounted price. Most products are available at wholesale costs!
Please contact us to find out how outdoor school providers and districts can join Columbia’s Pro Discount Program. We hope districts and providers use this program to develop an inventory of high-quality equipment designed for heavy use that will hold up over time in Oregon’s harsh conditions, while ensuring every student has what they need to participate in outdoor school in both safe and comfortable conditions.
As outlined in Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 327.390, OSU Extension is developing Outdoor School’s administrative structure and fund-distribution mechanism with help from a diverse advisory committee.
- In July 2017, the Oregon Legislature formally approved $24 million for the statewide Outdoor School program over the next two years.
- This followed Oregon voters' approval of Ballot Measure 99 in November 2016, which designated funding, and adoption of Senate Bill 439, codified into law as Oregon Revised Statute ORS327.390, by the 2015 Oregon Legislature, which directed OSU Extension to assist School Districts and Education Service Districts (ESD’s) to provide a statewide Outdoor School program.