Olathe schools awarded $15,000 grant, funds new equipment for Outdoor Learning Project | Local News Stories | montrosepress.com

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Middle/high school students in Olathe Handicraft Class are setting up 24 tables for OMHS and Olathe Elementary School. These tables were purchased through a grant from the Colorado Trust Foundation to provide an outdoor learning space for students during and after the pandemic.

Staff writer and digital content coordinator

Thanks to the $15,000 grant from The Colorado Trust, Olathe Junior High/High School and Olathe Elementary School will soon become outdoor learning places. The Olathe School Outdoor Learning Project began to allow Olathe Elementary School and Olathe Middle School and High School to provide outdoor learning to students during COVID-19.

The "Making a Better Life" (MOB) team led the grant application process, and once MOB leaders and school leaders identified the challenges of supporting students' educational needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, the application would lose its competitiveness.

MOB started in 2016 with community partnership grants provided by The Colorado Trust. The Olathe community group receives and manages grants annually. According to the Colorado Trust's website, the foundation has developed a grant process based on its community partnership approach to promote health equity.

In the project description submitted to the trust foundation, the foundation stated: “The funds will be used to purchase curtains, tables and chairs for outdoor learning, and provide covered spaces to protect people entering the school from being forced Wait for the temperature. Please check before entering."

"In the last year, we realized that due to COVID-19 restrictions, our school has some needs. In August and September, we met with the school principal, interviewed parents and teachers, and learned that the school can learn from some outdoor Lynette Rowland, the coordinator of the MOB at the table, said: “So, we are an intermediary between the school and the trust to get the money for the equipment. Some people in the community and Olathe Town also donated money for this, buying a total of 8 outdoor shades and 24 tables. "

This grant is used to purchase four curtains measuring 20 feet by 20 feet by 20 feet for $125 per lesson, six tables for Olathe High School chairs, $500 each, 18 tables for Olathe Elementary School chairs, Each is $500, there are four colors to choose from on OES and OMHS, each price is $300.

The Ministry of Commerce received the news of the grant in November 2020.

The community also intervened in schools supporting the project.

Scot Brown, the head of OMHS, said: “In addition to receiving grants, we also received many donations from local residents and businesses for the project.” “In addition, we were able to cooperate with local businesses in Olathe. , Get a table and an awning."

Currently, students participating in arts and crafts courses are preparing tables for OMHS and OES. Brown expects the table will be in place in the next few weeks.

Brown said: "The tables and shadows will be placed in the quadrilateral outside the cafeteria, so that students can eat outside or teachers have classes outside." "When we screen before school, the sun shade will be activated for students in inclement weather. This will enable students, if they need to wait to be screened, to avoid rain and snow when they need it."

The principal of Olathe Elementary School, Beth Kusar, said that the school’s new dining table will be set up throughout the campus.

She said: "The new table will be placed under our big tent. In addition to lunch on the grass outside the cafeteria, it will also provide seating for outdoor classrooms."

OES staff also use four large pop-up tents at the COVID-19 screening station on campus.

Kusar said: "If it rains or snows and we can't safely put them all into the auditorium in the lobby, they can wait outside outside the pop-up tents that are still spaced apart."

These new outdoor learning spaces will enable teachers to engage students in the curriculum while maintaining social distancing during the pandemic, and continue to provide a unique learning environment for years to come.

"Especially during this time, the outside is everything," Kusar said. "Students can wear masks to rest and enjoy the sun. Tables, benches and pop-up tents can be used permanently on OES-not just now. Teachers are excited about the idea of ​​having an outdoor classroom."

Brown added that how students request more learning opportunities outdoors, the school will continue to expand the space later this spring.

He said: “Students like outdoor sports instead of staying indoors all day.” Having an outdoor learning space provides teachers with a variety of options to attract students and change their learning/teaching style.

"Students are asking for more opportunities to study outdoors when the weather is clear, and to truly enjoy outdoor activities during school hours. We will add trees and benches later this spring to further improve the outdoor learning area. Outdoor learning area It will be a safe outdoor area where students and teachers will enjoy learning and teaching."

Both Kusar and Brown expressed gratitude to the MOB and Olathe communities for their support and partnership on this project.

Roland said that during the pandemic, MOB must support Olathe School because many young people in the community have been adversely affected by health equity issues, and this problem has worsened as the pandemic increases.

Rowland said: "We believe that all efforts to support schools to make schools easier, more convenient and fairer are not only a victory for our students, but also for the entire community." "We hope to buy this outdoor equipment. It can make it easier for schools to conduct boarding checks in inclement weather, and to conduct classroom learning outdoors when the weather permits, so that local students can learn by themselves."

Lauren Brant is a senior writer and digital content coordinator for the Montrose Journal.


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