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The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education voted to unanimously approve a resolution from board member Nick Melvoin, 4th District, to expand access to outdoor learning opportunities for district students. The resolution calls for more funding and resources to expand existing outdoor education programs as well as explore new and innovative opportunities, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The benefits of outdoor education have always existed, but after a year of screen time and stay at home orders, there is no better moment for us to invest in bringing the classroom outside for our kids,” Melvoin said. “We can support the academic, social-emotional, and physical well-being of our students while minimizing the risks of the virus and enjoying Los Angeles’s sunny weather. To me, it’s a no-brainer.”
L.A. Unified currently runs two outdoor education programs: Camp Skyhook at Clear Creek in the Angeles National Forest, which offers an immersive experience to foster kids’ love of nature, and Point Fermin in San Pedro, where kids can explore the underwater world of oceanography. But without the proper funding and resources, these programs can only serve a small fraction of our student population.
“With so many communities lacking adequate access to outdoor green space, it’s exciting to be able to open new outdoor opportunities for our students,” board President Kelly Gonez, a co-sponsor, said. “I’m also glad we will be looking at how to expand our offerings in an equitable way to ensure our high needs communities have access.”
“As our students slowly return to campus, we are committed to providing the safest learning opportunities for everyone,” board member Scott M. Schmerelson, a co-sponsor, said. “We also know that in order for our students to have an enriching experience they need hands-on outdoor experiences during their school day. I support our ongoing advocacy efforts to expand more outdoor learning opportunities district-wide because it is a critical component to a creative and innovative curriculum that will enrich and improve the wellbeing of our young learners.”
“We want all of our students to experience outdoor learning,” board member Jackie Goldberg, a co-sponsor, said. “Connecting with gardens and nature gives them a real-life appreciation and curiosity, and hopefully will inspire some to become scientists.”
For information, visit lausd.net.
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