Rob Manning, a reporter from public radio station OPB, recently visited several Outdoor School sites and wrote an inspiring radio article detailing the experience of kids in the Class of 2025. Beginning in 2013, according to his report, “OPB has been tracking a group of students since they were in first grade, as a way of examining Oregon’s goal that all students achieve a high school credential, starting in 2025.”

Now sixth-graders, Manning wanted to see how the students in the 2025 cohort were doing at Outdoor School, recently expanded from a three-day/two-night educational experience into a six-day/five-night program due to Measure 99 funding. He visited several sites with classes from Ron Russell Middle School in SE Portland, where, he said, “More than 80% of students...are from low-income families, and half come from families in which English Isn’t their first language.” The OPB story reported that, among other outcomes:

  • Outdoor School staff felt that the longer program provided a better chance for social-emotional learning

  • Teachers formed better connections with students

  • Parents noticed increased confidence in their kids

  • Students learned a lot about science, appreciating being “outside, rather than cooped up in a classroom.”

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