The US Department of Education, Out Teach, district leaders, and teachers share expertise to help everyone accelerate learning outdoors.

During the pandemic, thousands of educators across the country began exploring the possibilities of outdoor learning to improve safety. Now that schools have returned to in-person instruction, teachers are looking to outdoor learning to help students get healthier and happier while making lessons more engaging and effective. On April 27th, district leaders, teachers, and other experts from across the country gathered to share how they’ve successfully implemented outdoor learning programs to unlock student performance. You can view the video and read the speaker transcripts, and bios below, and view other resources to help you begin using the outdoors for instruction.


Speaker Bios:

Jeanne McCarty

CEO, Out Teach

Science transforms lives, so Out Teach transforms science education for students furthest from opportunity. Out Teach unlocks the full potential of science outdoors, and re-imagines education to inspire a fearless generation of dreamers, thinkers, and doers. With thirty years of experience in the field of education, Jeanne McCarty serves as a thought leader in reimaging learning in schools to promote real-world, experiential learning that improves academic, social, and emotional development.

Shital Shah

Director of Strategic Partnerships, Office of the Secretary,
U.S. Department of Education

Prior to joining the Office of the Secretary at the US Department of Education as Director of Strategic Partnerships, Shital was the Director of Philanthropic Engagement at the American Federation of Teachers and also served on the 2020 Biden-Harris Transition Team for the US Department of Education. While at the AFT, she cultivated and strengthened relationships with philanthropic and education industry partners to garner support for improving children’s well-being, creating powerful learning, building teacher capacity, and fostering school and community collaboration.

Grace Manubay

Environmental Literacy Coordinator, DC’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education

Grace Manubay is an established leader in the DC environmental education community. Her experience ranges from non-formal classroom teaching, conducting professional development workshops, and curriculum design. She created the DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s (OSSE) first environmental literacy program, and has led the development and implementation of DC’s state environmental literacy and sustainability plans. Grace has held leadership positions with the DC Environmental Education Consortium and is a member of the Chesapeake Bay Education Workgroup Leadership Team and the North American Association for Environmental Education Affiliate Network.

Katie West

Outdoor & Experiential Learning Coordinator, Portland Public Schools, Maine

Katie West is the Outdoor and Experiential Learning Coordinator for the Portland Public Schools in Maine and has been teaching in the field and in the classroom for more than 20 years. Last year, at the height of the pandemic she taught outside with urban K-5 students in the Northeast for all but six days in the sun, snow, wind, and rain. She secured funding for a gear library to make outdoor clothing accessible to all students and a reading library to help teachers learn more about outdoor and experiential pedagogy. Now, she is working to do this on a district level in Portland. Email Katie for more.

Teena Hine

Director of Professional Learning , Out Teach

As the Director of Professional Learning, Teena facilitates training and development in program implementations for Out Teach. Prior to joining Out Teach, she worked in education for 20 years, and has held the roles of Elementary Educator, Interventionist, Instructional Coach, and WV State Technology Coordinator. She is passionate about ensuring students are balancing “screen time” with “green time”, infused with standards aligned outdoor science instruction.

Dr. Jarri Goodman

Instructional Coach, Out Teach

Before joining the Out Teach community, Jarri worked as an elementary science teacher in a Title 1 school where he implemented engaging STEM activities, coordinated elementary science fairs, and served as his school co-science chair. Jarri served as his school lead student support teacher, coordinating and supervising the instructional support programs for the district.

Janetta Greenwood

K-12 Science Coordinator for Clayton County Public Schools

Janetta Greenwood’s core mission is to ensure that all students have access to authentic science learning experiences that fosters a healthy curiosity about the world. She is a firm believer that all students can do science and works to ensure that all students have the opportunity to engage in real world experiences to see science applied to life. With a mission to increase minority representation in science and STEM, she has designed unique summer opportunities through the lens of SummerT.I.M.E. (Thrive, Inspire, Motivate, Engage) STEM Camps and Advanced Learning for All to replace the traditional remediation summer school model to improve students’ overall academic performance through experiential learning. Learn more about Clayton County’s STEM offerings here: STEM Camps Highlight Video 2021, STEM Camps, and Advanced Learning for All.

About this series

The Teaching and Learning Outdoors webinar is the second in a four-part webinar series. Out Teach is working with a consortium of leading national organizations, including Big GreenEcoriseGreen Schoolyards America, and FreshFarm Foodprints to highlight the many benefits of outdoor learning.

You can also view a recording of the first webinar “The Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Outdoor Learning” hosted by Big Green.

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.