2016-2017 Annual Report
Out Teach (formerly REAL School Gardens) gets students more engaged in school with hands-on outdoor lessons that create deep and lasting learning.
Every year, thousands of low-income children give up in school because they spend their days doing worksheets, or reciting back facts they’ve memorized. They don’t often get the enriching hands-on lessons that make learning deeply meaningful. And when low-income students aren’t engaged in school early on, they’re less likely to graduate, hold on to a career, and find their path out of poverty.
REAL School Gardens lifts up low-income schools, communities, and families by providing children with a REAL education. We create enriching and engaging learning experiences that spark an excitement about school and give students the REAL-world hands-on learning they need to succeed.
How We Do It
REAL School Gardens’ Professional Learning Program provides powerful instructional coaching proven to increase teacher effectiveness and student engagement – two of the strongest predictors of long-term success for low-income kids. We also partner with companies and foundations to construct outdoor classrooms in low-income schools to give students a rich living laboratory that gets them engaged in learning.
A Year of Growth
To reach as many students as possible with our proven program, in 2016, we launched a bold national growth plan to expand to a total of six regions and 15 cities. By the year 2020, we’ll reach 225,000 students every day. During the 2016-2017 school year, we grew to 13 school districts through four regional offices. Such rapid expansion would not have been possible without a strong financial foundation. View our 990s and audited financials.
Expanding Professional Learning
To get even more children engaged in outdoor lessons as quickly as possible, REAL School Gardens is offering our Professional Learning Program to all schools. Now, any school with an existing garden or outdoor space can skip our outdoor classroom construction phase and start receiving our acclaimed Professional Learning Program. To further boost teacher effectiveness and student engagement, in 2016 we also started building our online Coaching Center, where teachers can go anytime to easily access all of our lesson plans and helpful how-to videos.
This intense focus on growth means we’re creating more impact for schools, students, and partners every day. Over the course of the 2016-2017 fiscal year (which matches the school year), REAL School Gardens:
enhanced 11 learning gardens
Teachers and Students RAVE about REAL School Gardens.
here,’ but that’s not it. It’s a better way of learning – learning by doing.”
Statement of Activities and Financial Position
REAL School Gardens launched its growth capital campaign in 2016 to expand its programming across the United States. Since then, the organization has raised close to $3 million in growth funds and made key investments in personnel, new offices and technology to serve thousands more teachers and students.
Currently, REAL School Gardens is operating in 13 school districts.
Our total annual operating budget has grown 89% from $1.60M to $3.02M. We have raised close to 50% of our total capital campaign goal of $6,000,000. We have $300,000 left in challenge funds to help us reach our goals, — to expand to a total of six regions and 15 cites by 2020, and reach 225,000 students every year.
National Growth Plan
How It Works
REAL School Gardens’ Professional Development Program produces measurable gains for our school partners. We currently serve four regions, five states and the District of Columbia, and 13 school districts.
REAL School Gardens began in Fort Worth in 2003 and was formally incorporated in 2006. With school partnerships in more than a dozen districts, our flagship region is still our largest. In 2015, the organization celebrated its 100th school partnership in the region, and is currently in the process of expanding to Austin and Houston. You can read more about our 2016-2017 accomplishments here.
REAL Results — Texas
enhanced 7 learning gardens
REAL School Gardens expanded to the Mid-Atlantic region in 2015 as part of its national growth strategy. Currently we serve the following districts; Alexandria Virginia Public School System, Baltimore City Public School System, Washington D.C. Public Schools, D.C. Public Charter Schools, and Prince George’s County, Maryland. See more details about our work in the 2016-2017 school year.
REAL Results — Mid Atlantic
Based in Charlotte, NC, REAL School Gardens’ Carolinas Region launched in 2016 offering our professional development services to schools with existing learning gardens. Then in 2017, we constructed our first official outdoor classroom at Idlewild Elementary. You can see more of our 2016-2017 accomplishments here. And learn more about partnering with us.
REAL Results — The Carolinas
refreshed 4 existing learning gardens