The Oregon State University Extension Service shall assist school districts and education service districts in providing outdoor school programs. The Oregon State University Extension Service shall provide assistance by administering a grant program, providing program leadership and providing program maintenance.
Grants shall be awarded for outdoor school programs that:
Provide a six-day, residential, hands-on educational experience, or an equivalent outdoor educational experience that reflects local community needs and contexts, featuring field study opportunities for students learning about:
Soil, water, plants and animals;
The role of timber, agriculture and other natural resources in the economy of this state;
The interrelationship of nature, natural resources, economic development and career opportunities in this state; and
The importance of this state’s environment and natural resources.
Are integrated with local school curricula in a manner that assists students in meeting state standards related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and international standards related to science.
Provide students with opportunities to develop leadership, critical thinking and decision-making skills.
Address the inequity of outdoor educational opportunities for underserved children in this state.
Provide students with opportunities to learn about the interdependence of urban and rural areas.
Grants shall be awarded to a school district or to an education service district.
Priority for grants shall be given to outdoor school programs that promote:
Higher scores on standardized measures of academic achievement in reading, writing, math, science and social studies.
Greater self-sufficiency and leadership skills.
Fewer discipline and classroom management problems.
Increased student engagement and pride in accomplishments.
Greater proficiency in solving problems and thinking strategically.
Better application of systems thinking and increased ability to think creatively.
Improved communication skills and enhanced ability to work in group settings.
Greater enthusiasm for language arts, math, science and social studies.
Increased knowledge and understanding of science content, concepts and processes.
Better ability to apply science and civic processes to real-world situations.
Improved understanding of mathematical concepts and mastery of math skills.
Improved language arts skills.
Better comprehension of social studies content.
Accessibility to students of all abilities and learning styles.
(a) The Director of the Oregon State University Extension Service shall convene an advisory committee for the purpose of administering the grant program established under this section. When selecting the members of the committee, the director shall take into consideration geographic and demographic diversity and shall ensure that the committee has representatives of the environmental community, the natural resources community and fifth-grade or sixth-grade education.
The advisory committee shall recommend to the director:
Standards for outdoor school programs; and
Distributions of moneys for outdoor school programs.
The Oregon State University Extension Service shall provide program leadership of outdoor school programs, including:
Providing program management and administration, including:
Developing and reviewing outdoor school program curricula;
Designing outdoor school program lessons that are available on websites and mobile devices;
Developing outdoor school program learning modules and materials;
Implementing the outdoor school program;
Developing best practices for providing outdoor school programs; and
Providing staff training related to outdoor school programs;
Convening an advisory committee to assist with management activities;
Distributing grants and entering into contracts and other agreements related to financing;
Providing procurement services;
Complying with reporting requirements; and
Ensuring compliance with program requirements.
The Oregon State University Extension Service shall provide program maintenance, including:
Conducting program reviews and implementing program revisions;
Making quality assessments and monitoring the program for quality;
Evaluating outputs and impacts of outdoor school programs;
Engaging in camp development, including the selection, management and coordination of camps; and
Conducting risk management.
Nothing in this section shall be construed as imposing on the Oregon State University Extension Service any duties or obligations unless funding is provided to the service for expenses incurred by the service for the purposes of this section.
The director shall submit an annual report to:
The Department of Education, related to the ability of outdoor school programs to assist students in meeting state standards related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and international standards related to science; and
The interim legislative committees on education, related to grant programs. [2015 c.782 §2]