Outdoor Greening and Learning Spaces

outdoor learning photo 1OUTDOOR LEARNING photo 2         outdoor learning photo 3

MVWSD is on the path to becoming a greener, more environmentally-conscious district. Our district passed resolutions and is pursuing regional and national certification that highlights its waste reduction and energy conservation. Our schools are powered by 77% renewable energy. And there is more to do….

MVWSD believes that the development of Outdoor Greening and Learning Spaces plays a pivotal role in ensuring that our schools are equipped with sustainable, green spaces that promote holistic learning experiences. It’s important that our campuses have  flexible and dynamic spaces that support equitable, diverse learning and recreational activities, which enhance the physical and mental well-being of students and promote a greater connection to the understanding of our natural world. 


MVWSD is creating spaces at each school that will provide shade, plants and outdoor areas for learning and play.  The initiative began in 2022 at Jose Antonio Vargas Elementary as an effort to replace trees that had been removed. The Board of Trustees recognized that there were greater needs at this campus, and across the District. The Board passed the  Climate Change and Green Schoolyard Board Resolution (05-012623) in February 2023 that specified a Greening Index that establishes an increase of green space to meet minimum standards of 30% green space per campus. MVWSD has engaged consultant Carducci to prepare concept‐level landscape plans for each school site beginning with Vargas Elementary in January 2023.

Timeline of Work

Developing Assessment Categories (Complete) 
By developing and assigning “green scores,” the community, District and Board of Trustees can effectively assess the value of improvements that could be included in an outdoor area, by identifying potential recreation elements and areas that require enhancement or development. These metrics encompass six key objectives: Physical Comfort, Mental Well-Being, Exploration And Discovery, Outdoor Learning, Operations and Sustainability, Student Safety and Experience.
School Staff Meetings (October and November 2023)
School staff members will be invited to share thoughts and ideas about areas of need for outdoor learning, shade, planting and sustainability among many other topics.
Community Meetings (November and December 2023)
Parents, neighbors, residents, and environmental groups were invited to share thoughts and ideas: 
  * Bubb, Amy Imai, & Graham - Nov. 28, 2023
Castro, Mistral, & Landels - Nov. 29, 2023
  * Monta Loma, Theuerkauf, Stevenson & Crittenden - Nov. 30, 2023
  * All School Sites -Dec. 12, 2023   To submit your ideas and suggestions online, please click here and complete this form
Reporting to the Board of Trustees (November 2023)

* Carducci reported on the Greening Index, got Board feedback and priorities on Nov. 16, 2023 and then held additional study sessions with the Board.

Developing a Green School Index for MVWSD (Spring 2024)

* The Board discussed development of green measurements in January and April 2024

Potential Approval of Outdoor Greening and Learning Spaces Plans (to come)
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