Pre-K students at Sedgwick Elementary School learn about bug body parts on May 12 as part of the school’s Outdoor Learning Week. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY JENNIFER OSBORN

Union 76 takes the classroom outdoors

SEDGWICK School Union 76 was one of the first districts in Maine to receive funding through the Maine Department of Education’s Rethinking Responsive Education Ventures Program.

Locally, the program is spearheaded by Laura Bryant, director of place-based learning, a grant-funded position for Union 76.

“What we found is that kids being outside is a really good thing for learning,” said Bryant. So, the district is looking for ways to increase the opportunity to learn outdoors or in the community.

The program is possible thanks to federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education’s Rethink K-12 Education Models from the Maine Department of Education, one of 11 state education departments to receive funding. The department received $16.9 million.

“We are partnering with the Maine Outdoor School, Blue Hill Heritage Trust, OceansWide, Timber Tina, Birdsacre, Penobscot tribal citizen Ann Pollard-Ranco and Kathy Pollard of Know Your Land Consulting to provide a week of expanded learning opportunities,” Bryant said.

The projects included having older students work in the gardens on the school grounds and learn about outdoor careers.

Union 76 was one of the first districts to receive a grant. Regional School Unit 25 (RSU 25) in Bucksport has now also received funding.

“Expanded outdoor learning, a makerspace, hiring an outdoor learning coordinator, expanded internships, service learning, and work/study opportunities, and engaging remote learning pathways” are possible uses for the grant funding, according to the Maine Department of Education.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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