1*Outdoor Lab for Denver Public Schools:
Jefferson County schools in Colorado offer Outdoor Education Laboratory Program, known fondly as Outdoor Lab. It is an experiential learning program for 6th graders. The students go to an educational facility in the mountains (Mt. Evans or Windy Peak) and spend a week doing authentic, hands-on learning that enhances environmental stewardship, awareness, and appreciation. In the Denver Public School system, there’s no organized program similar to this one. The students are being moved towards a curriculum tied in books and are missing the experiential learning aspect.
The need is a creative and enriching program that challenges students physically and mentally to think outside the classroom. The cost would come from renting out the facility and hiring the staff to lead the students. The extra leader positions that are needed can be covered by High School leaders that would come to volunteer.
The return on investment is that with a program as unique and enriching as this, students will not only want to send their kids here in the future, but they would be willing to contribute to the learning of others in future years. The students who go will come back excited to learn and use their skills through their work.
When students are shown that people care about their education by offering unique experiences, they value education so much more. Students will look forward to becoming a 6th grader to be able to go on these trips. The society as a whole will begin to value experiential learning and take steps forward to connect education in all walks of life.