Advancing Equity

2020-21 Annual Report

Advancing Educational Equity

Out Teach strives to meet each student where they are, and equip them to get where they want to be. The current education system in the United States is exacerbating inequities and leaving millions of students unprepared to succeed in the 21st century, in part due to institutional beliefs and practices that do not take distinct cultural backgrounds, lived experiences, and special needs into account.

To help advance educational equity during the pandemic, Out Teach shared its proven strategies on how to teach, where to teach, and what to teach with 1,532 teachers at 64 schools in 21 districts, improving culturally responsive, student-driven, inquiry-based learning opportunities for 38,300 students.

How We’re Teaching

Out Teach believes ALL students have unique experiences and valuable knowledge that they bring into the classroom. We utilize the “5E” instructional framework to ensure that students can engage and explore subjects from their own unique perspectives. By coaching teachers to conduct 5E lessons outdoors, Out Teach equips them to lead phenomena-based experiences proven to boost critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration skills in diverse classrooms. The 5E model provides all students with opportunities to:

  • Authentically connect to real-world problems
  • Build memorable experiences
  • Create shared experiences with classmates that build relationships and foster collaboration

What We’re Teaching

Out Teach focuses on improving the quantity and quality of elementary science instruction because early education has the power to build STEM knowledge, skills, and interest, improving access to STEM career pathways.

STEM starts with science, and interest in STEM careers solidifies by 6th grade. Without effective science instruction, many students get shut out of the pipeline early. The “Nation’s Report Card” shows that less than 20% of students who are Black, Hispanic, or from families identifying themselves as low-income score at or above “Proficient” in science. By improving access to early science education we can create a wider, deeper, and more equitable STEM talent pool, improving the nation’s STEM infrastructure with more diverse perspectives and solutions.

This year, we coached and inspired 1,532 teachers, moving Out Teach closer to our five-year plan to equip 10,000 teachers to get students deeply engaged in science using hands-on outdoor learning to make science more real, relevant, and relatable for every student every day.

Learning Outdoors

Where We’re Teaching:

Out Teach activates outdoor spaces for learning because science is all around us. From sidewalks to soccer fields, every school has an outdoor space that can quickly and easily be activated to support hands-on science learning.

Activating outdoor spaces on school campuses gives students of all backgrounds access to a range of first-hand learning experiences, as well as shared experiences with classmates and communities. Outdoor experiences are inherently cross-curricular, making not only science but math and language arts more authentic, meaningful, and relevant.

To improve equitable access to a dynamic, engaging, and immersive learning environment, this year, Out Teach created five new outdoor learning spaces with partner schools. By the end of our Strategic Plan in 2025, Out Teach will have created 169 new outdoor learning spaces with our school partners.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Out Teach

As a leader in professional learning, Out Teach emphasizes that teacher and school voice are integral to our work. Our staff is trained to avoid making assumptions and actively promotes an atmosphere of opportunity. We believe in the vital nature of this growth amongst our staff, just as we do for the students and teachers in our schools.

As part of our strategic goal to advance organizational capacity, in 2019 Out Teach focused and formalized our emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI. DEI is important to Out Teach not only because it is a marker of a strong and successful organization, but because we believe our team should reflect and have deep understanding of the diverse communities we serve. After securing external expertise and creating a DEI committee, Out Teach worked to create a purpose statement, assess our current situation, and chart a path forward.

Key Initiatives in 2020-21

Responding
to the Pandemic

Advancing
Educational Equity

Closing
the Science Gap

Out Teach, formerly REAL School Gardens, provides professional development for elementary school teachers. Out Teach prepares them to use school gardens, outdoor classrooms, and green schoolyards to improve instruction through three-dimensional project-based learning, and outdoor experiential inquiry-based education. Professional learning with Out Teach improves hands-on science and STEM education through instructional coaching and digital education resources and improves 21st Century skills.