Public Education Dr. Secretary Kurt Steinhaus
SANTA FE — The New Mexico Department of Public Education (PED) announced a $300,000 investment in the outdoor learning program, awarding grants to six schools and four school districts to help promote the innovation and expand access to outdoor learning and environmental education.
The 10 recipients will each receive an average of $30,000 to support the development of outdoor learning programs.
“Opportunities to learn in the natural world help students reduce stress and engage creativity,” said Public Education Secretary Dr. Kurt Steinhaus. “The outdoor learning program is another way to help students succeed academically and emotionally.”
The grants will provide teachers with resources and activities that promote discovery, experimentation, and connection to the natural world. Spending classroom time outdoors can help students think beyond the blackboard and engage them in the real-world application of their schoolwork.
“The goal of each grant is to increase teachers’ confidence in the use of outdoor spaces, provide high-quality teaching aligned with standards, and expand all students’ access to learning opportunities. outdoors,” said Shafiq Chaudhary, director of math and science for the Department of Public Education.
Grant applications have explored a variety of topics from creating new outdoor learning spaces to plans to include outdoor experiences in all core subjects.
- Alamogordo Public Schools;
- Albuquerque Public Schools;
- Aztec municipal schools;
- Las Cruces Public Schools;
- Monte del Sol Charter School;
- Mountain Mahogany Community School;
- Native American Community Academy;
- Rio Gallinas School for Ecology and the Arts;
- Siembra Leadership High School; and
- Vista Grande High School.
Last spring, DEP received a $500,000 statutory appropriation to expand outdoor learning opportunities after a multi-agency task force recommended the department provide grants to local educational agencies and create two outdoor learning specialist positions to establish an outdoor learning program.