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Magnet school moving forward with outdoor learning

Davis Magnet School’s existing garden beds will soon have a large Outdoor Learning Center added to it. The center will allow all grade levels at Davis to have garden areas outside their classrooms.
Davis Magnet School’s existing garden beds will soon have a large Outdoor Learning Center added to it. The center will allow all grade levels at Davis to have garden areas outside their classrooms.
(Courtesy Vanessa Handy)

Davis Magnet School plans to break ground on a new Outdoor Learning Center this summer after receiving approval from the Newport-Mesa Unified School District School Board last week to start building.

The proposed center wraps around the perimeter of the school’s library and provides each grade level at Davis, kindergarten through sixth, with a garden area.

The garden will help support lessons for each grade in soil cultivating, water harvesting, solar storage and wind energy.

“This has been in the works for several years and we’ve had a really dedicated team of teachers and parents on this,” Davis Magnet Principal Christy Flores said. “With our school’s emphasis on math, science and technology, this was a great chance to not only create a better learning environment, but to also develop a curriculum for each grade level that aligns with the standards.”

In May, the school was awarded a $209,000 grant from the State of California Drought Response Outreach Program for Schools to construct the center.

As a condition of the grant, Davis Magnet must also raise a 15% match amount, which would be around $37,000. Flores said the teacher and parent team are working on different campaigns to raise the money, such as having community members purchase Legacy Bricks to be added to the center.

The school’s goal is to begin building the new facility when students are out for summer break and to complete construction by fall, in time for a ribbon-cutting at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year.

“We’re creating the next generation of global thinkers,” said Vanessa Handy, a member of the team for the center. “It’s not just a garden here to beautify the school. It’s about integrating what they’ll learn here and connecting that between other disciplines.”

Donations to the Outdoor Learning Center may be made through DavisOutdoorLearningCenter.com


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