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 informational flyers are now available in six languages
Copies of the flyer "Outdoor School - Learning in the world's best outdoor classroom" are available in English, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, and Arabic. 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.
If you have questions or would like to discuss how you can help, partner, or support the statewide Outdoor School program, please contact us.
As you receive questions from others, please encourage them to contact us directly and share the link to this page, which provides the most current information about the funding process and timeline, and other aspects of the program.
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. We recorded this session and will post it here soon!
We're hoping to host another session soon (perhaps next quarter?). 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 latest additions to your OSU Extension Outdoor School Team. Starting on July 9th, please welcome:
- Charissa Jones, our new Outreach and Inclusion Coordinator; and
- Renee O’Neill, our new Curriculum and Professional Development Coordinator
Both join Dr. Spirit Brooks, our Research, Evaluation, and Assessment Coordinator, who joined the Team in May.
Charissa Jones brings a tremendous amount of diversity, equity, and inclusion experience to the Outdoor School Team. Previously, Charissa served as the Environmental Education Coordinator for the Tualatin Riverkeepers, connecting youth and families from diverse backgrounds to the river and environmental education. Her successful outreach work is widely recognized in the environmental education community, and we are thrilled she has decided to help lead our work to actualize our unwavering commitment to Outdoor School for ALL.
Renee O’Neill joins us with more than ten years of experience in leading, coordinating, and developing field-based programs and leading teacher professional development programs. Most recently, Renee served as the Senior Programs Coordinator for OSU’s Science and Math Investigative Learning Experience (SMILE) Program. Additionally, she has successfully served as an Oregon Natural Resource Education Program (ONREP) facilitator. The OSU Extension Outdoor School Program is excited to welcome Renee, who will work in cooperation with the ONREP team as our programs work together to deliver excellent professional development and curricular support to outdoor school teachers and providers.
Dr. Spirit Brooks has been onboard for nearly two months now and is already deep into Outdoor School evaluation and our annual reporting requirements. Spirit will help us carefully evaluate the effectiveness and success of outdoor school so that we can continue to improve and increase program effectiveness in every school across our state. Spirit is an educational anthropologist joining us most recently from OSU’s Office of Academic Achievement where she has worked to support traditionally underrepresented students in their transition to college through direct student support, teaching, and advising. Spirit is an enrolled member of the Arapaho Nation and was the first in her family to attend college.
Join our team
The posting for the three Outdoor School Regional Coordinator positions is now CLOSED and we have begun the process of interviewing candidates. These positions will be located in 1. Eastern Oregon (Baker City); 2. Southern Oregon (Medford/Ashland); and 3. Portland Metro Area.
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).
Funding and reporting process and timeline
2018-2019 Outdoor School (Measure 99) Funding Application links were emailed to participating District and Education Service District Superintendents or requested points of contact on April 23, 2018 and the application deadline was May 21, 2018. We will continue to accept applications, but we will give priority to Districts that met the May 21, 2018 deadline. Once we have issued awards to the Districts that met the deadline, we will review the applications submitted after the deadline (in order of submittal). If you plan to submit an application after the deadline, we strongly encourage you to notify us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) following completion and submittal of your application.
The following documents provide information that will be helpful in understanding the application and funding process:
Please don’t hesitate to contact us or call 541-737-4391 with questions regarding Measure 99 funding, reporting for reimbursement of 2017-2018 awards (which was due June 15, 2018), and the 2018-2019 application process.
The 2017-2018 application period closed on November 14, 2017 and award notification letters were issued on or before January 31, 2018. 2017-2018 award reimbursements will be issued upon receipt of a complete report, with the deadline of June 15, 2018 for all reporting materials.
Please contact us with questions regarding your application.
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. Based on this provision and our understanding of the constitutional restrictions on the use of lottery funds, we will not be able to approve applications that incorporate subgrants to or other contractual arrangements with private schools for the purpose of providing Outdoor School services to the private schools’ students.
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.
Advisory Committee and Resource Group information
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.
Outdoor School Updates
- 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.