Paving the Way to Innovative Learning with the JHS Outdoor Learning Environment

Students in Rhy South's Construction Technology class spread concrete for the OLE sidewalk area.

Students in Rhy South’s Construction Technology class spread concrete for the OLE sidewalk area.

Progress continues on the Johnston High School Outdoor Learning Environment as a new wave of students integrate the project within their classes.

The Outdoor Learning Environment (OLE) represents a collective effort by the Johnston Community School Foundation, numerous JHS departments, City of Johnston, and Johnston Community School District to provide students with space and equipment to better study elements of biology, ecology, and environmental science.

Most recently, concrete sidewalks and the pad for underneath the outdoor classroom and shelter area were poured. Students in Rhys South’s construction technology class assisted with the pour. It’s yet another example of the hands-on, real-life work students experience with this project.

“Before the OLE is finished, we will have been able to have hundreds of students work on it,” said Greg Ehm, JCS Foundation Board Member. “From art classes to construction technology, environmental science to the Eagle Scouts, the Outdoor Learning Environment is truly collaborative. We love seeing departments and students work across content areas.”

The OLE has been three years in the making. Between securing funding, sourcing materials, and getting the site prepped for usage, it’s kept Foundation board members busy. The idea for an OLE stemmed from JHS science teachers Sara Kate Howe and Kyla Burns. As the teachers settled into their space at the new high school – and as demand rose for more science classes – they submitted a grant to the Foundation with their request to create a one-of-a-kind classroom.

As the Outdoor Learning Environment nears completion, the last major steps will include erecting the outdoor classroom and shelter and placing the storage shipping container at the site. To learn more about the Outdoor Learning Environment, read this story.

Students assist with a concrete pour.

Students will assist with the concrete pours for the sidewalks and shelter pads in late October.