Rocky Point Middle School students returned to school with an enhanced educational locale – an outdoor classroom. A ribbon-cutting took place the first week of classes to celebrate the unique learning environment for students in grades 6-8.
Several years in the making, with leadership and planning reins taken by the PTA, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Scott O’Brien, Principal James Moeller and Assistant Principal Dawn Meyers, the space is a welcome addition that highlights the advantages of outdoor learning and access to nature, both known to increase student enthusiasm and as being beneficial to social, emotional and physical health, and an important component of education in the COVID era.
The space, work surfaces that can be grouped together to form 15 tabletops, or with a simple maneuver, turned into benches with comfortable backs that can seat 30 students in a socially distant manner, are surrounded by freshly planted greenery. It is also an excellent accessible space for students with special needs and comes complete with a dry erase whiteboard. Teachers can reserve the space for lessons through the school’s Google calendar. According to Moeller, it has already been met with much enthusiasm by staff and students as a place that will spark creativity and motivate a different perspective on science and nature.
The district is grateful to many in the Rocky Point community including Bill Barber Masonry and Decorative Gardens, local organizations that supported the efforts by donating the labor for the project. The district also thanks the PTA and especially members Kristine Susmin and Kathi Heggers for a vision that has turned into a beneficial reality for Rocky Point students.
Photo courtesy of the Rocky Point School District