A coalition of nonprofit organizations, private sector partners, and government agencies selected eight Prince George’s County Public Schools to receive new outdoor classrooms in spring 2020 as part of the Treating & Teaching Program. The schools selected are John Bayne Elementary School, Carrollton Elementary, Crossland High School, Eisenhower Middle School, Robert Goddard Montessori, Waldon Woods Elementary, Phyllis E. Williams Spanish Immersion and Woodmore Elementary School.

The Treating & Teaching program, supported by the Clean Water Partnership, the community-based partnership between Prince George’s County and Corvias, promotes stewardship of Prince George’s County waterways and environmental literacy in Prince George’s County Public Schools. Students will help to design the learning spaces and will actively participate in planting and arranging the classrooms during installation, providing hands-on time working with the soil and learning about how the plants contribute to cleaner water within their watershed.

“We envision creating a natural gathering space where teachers can bring their classroom education outdoors, delivering countless engaging learning opportunities. Almost every subject in the curriculum can be enhanced when taken outdoors,” said Bruce Mitchell, Green School Coordinator at John Bayne Elementary School.

“In partnership with Prince George’s County and the Clean Water Partnership, this incredible expansion of the Treating and Teaching program will have a profound impact on hundreds of local students by making stormwater management and environmental literacy an active part of their classrooms and curriculum,” said Keisha Brown, Corvias Partnership Liaison. “Corvias and Prince George’s County are proud of the environmental and socioeconomic value to the community through the Clean Water Partnership, a community-based partnership, that has helped to limit pollution and clean waterways thanks to support from local businesses and the community.”

In addition to designing and installing the outdoor classrooms, the Treating and Teaching coalition provides professional development workshops for teachers and building supervisors about stormwater management to ensure that the stormwater facilities being installed on school campuses through the Clean Water Partnership’s Schools Program are understood and utilized as teaching tools. Additional co-benefits of the Treating & Teaching Program include bid opportunities for local and target class business to construct the outdoor classrooms fostering further education and engagement focused on stormwater management and environmental literacy.

Created in 2016, the Treating and Teaching program is funded by Prince George’s County Department of the Environment, the Clean Water Partnership, and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund. Program partners include the Anacostia Watershed Society, Bradley Site Design, Low Impact Development Center, Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education, The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County, The Neighborhood Design Center, Out Teach, and the William S. Schmidt Outdoor Education Center.

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This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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