Grant paves way for outdoor learning at Rutland
Students at Rutland High School will be going beyond the four walls of their classrooms to learn.
An outdoor facility was unveiled behind the Macon school Wednesday morning.
The $7,200 project was funded by a Teach to Inspire grant from the Peyton Anderson Foundation. Social studies teacher Rebecca Morgan applied for the grant, and she was among 112 Bibb County teachers to receive funding for projects this summer.
The foundation awarded a total of $532,875 through the new grant program, with more than $39,000 going to Rutland High for science and social studies projects.
The classroom was built by R&B Metal Structures in Jackson. Sitting on a concrete slab, it’s 20 by 30 feet with open walls and a green roof. There are six green tables inside, and a rolling white board was also purchased to go with it.
“I just want to say as a principal how proud I am that this facility came to fruition. The possibilities for this facility are endless,” principal Kent Sparks said. “This is a living, breathing example of (Superintendent Curtis) Jones’ vision for the school district, victory in progress.”
Morgan said teenagers need a place where they can come to learn outside. She used to take her students to sit on the sidewalk or on a hill, but she wanted a designated outdoor space with shade for lessons. The Teach to Inspire grant was a great opportunity to add a new facility to the school.
“This is not just for me, this is for all 1,000 Rutland students,” said Morgan, who’s taught at the school for eight years. “Any teacher at any point can bring their class out here and learn, because learning doesn’t just happen within the four walls of a classroom. Why sit inside when you can come out here and have a good day of learning outside?”
The new facility can be used in conjunction with the nature trail behind the school for a full outdoor learning experience, Morgan said.
“You always say ‘think outside the box.’ This is thinking outside the classroom,” Jones said.