REAL School Gardens increases student engagement and student achievement through experiential outdoor learning.  As an Available Vendor to APS schools, we train K-5 teachers, through ongoing one-on-one coaching, to become experts in cross-curricular instruction, utilizing outdoor learning spaces to engage students.  Our training incorporates STEM, Math, Science, Literacy, and the Arts and allows APS teachers to effectively teach in any outdoor space.

Ultimately, our program achieves results.  Partner schools have seen standardized test proficiency rates increase 12-15%. 

Our program has received the support of Dr. Carstarphen: “I am highly confident that REAL School Gardens will help schools reach goals surrounding student achievement, teacher training, job satisfaction, and retention, as well as community engagement.  Their program will provide schools with the tools that teachers need to foster student skills such as exploration, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and deductive reasoning.”  To read her full letter of support, click here.

An Atlanta Public School may choose from 3 multi-year programs:

Build & Train Program (3 years)

  • Corporately funded Full Garden Build with custom designed outdoor space including at least 14 instructional features. Culminates with one-day community engagement “Big Dig” with up to 150 corporate and community volunteers.
  • 6 month – 1 year planning process include custom garden design by registered landscape architect and school engagement “Design & Dine” event.
  • Corporate and regional fundraising 100% facilitated and secured by REAL School Gardens
  • 2 Year Train & Support Professional Development Program Included
  • $150,000 3-year total program cost
  • $120,000 Corporate and regional contribution
  • $10,000 annual School contribution for 3 years = Total cost to school $30,000

Enhance & Train Program (2.5-3 years)

  • Corporately funded Garden Enhancement includes custom outdoor space with multiple instructional features, designed to enhance or revitalize existing garden. Culminates with half-day community engagement “Enhancement” with up to 50 corporate and community volunteers.
  • 6 month planning process including custom garden design by registered landscape architect and school engagement “Design & Dine” event.
  • Corporate and regional funding 100% facilitated and secured by REAL School Gardens
  • 2 Year Train & Support Professional Development Program Included
  • $55,000 3-year total program cost
  • $25,000 Corporate and regional contribution
  • $10,000 annual School contribution for 3 years = Total cost to school $30,000

Train & Support Professional Development Program (2 years)

  • One-on-One onsite professional development aligned to state standards and school strategies, scope, and sequence.
  • REAL School Gardens instructional coaches are licensed teachers with an average 18 years teaching experience and a Master’s degree.
  • Utilizes existing outdoor learning space for programming
  • 48 total in-person, one-on-one coaching sessions plus 4 full staff trainings
  • All programming occurs during regular school days with no need for subs or extra hours
  • Access to our Online Coaching Center
  • $10,000 annual School contribution for 2 years = Total cost to school $20,000

Atlanta Public Schools encourages schools to be creative with how they fund their responsibility of the program and recommends considering multiple funding sources including general funds, Title I funds, STEM Funds, Title II funds, philanthropic funds or other special revenue. 

Outcomes

By the end of our Professional Learning Program, teachers are able to:

  • Create and implement standards-aligned, STEM-infused lesson plans that integrate the outdoor classroom as a tool
  • Utilize the outdoor space to academically challenge students to apply knowledge to solve meaningful, real-world problems
  • Foster important cognitive and social-emotional skills such as collaboration and problem-solving using the outdoor classroom
  • Increase student engagement through student-driven, exploration-based learning

94% of our teachers report more engaged students.  Teacher effectiveness and job satisfaction increases an average of 50%.  And 97% of our gardens built since 2007 are still actively used for academic instruction. 

Ready to partner with us to increase student achievement and teacher effectiveness?  For more information, fill out this Interest Form or contact our Southeast Executive Director here. 

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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.