Cool Schools Program: Yolo County, CA We Plan. We Plant. We Educate. We Celebrate.

Developed by Texas Trees Foundation, the Cool Schools Yolo Program is a partnership between Tree Davis, Washington Unified School District, Woodland Joint Unified School District and Woodland Tree Foundation.

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Cool Schools Yolo County Program Mission

No Child Left Inside

Cool Schools Yolo County connects students and teachers to nature by transforming school campuses through tree planting and the creation of fun, experiential outdoor learning areas. The program promotes environmental stewardship and aims to nurture a life-long love of exploration and appreciation for the natural environment. Funding for Cool Schools Yolo County is provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Urban and Community Forestry Program. Developed by Texas Trees Foundation, the program is a partnership between the Tree Davis, Washington Unified School District, Woodland Joint Unified School District and Woodland Tree Foundation.

The program will launch in 10 schools across the Washington Unified School District and Woodland Joint Unified School District.

Cool Schools connect students and teachers to nature by planting trees and creating fun and engaging outdoor experiential learning areas. These spaces cultivate children’s knowledge and awareness of the natural environment.

Research shows outdoor time can result in academic and health benefits for children. According to the University of Champaign Urban of Illinois, kids who spend more time outside end up paying more attention inside. Trees and nature lower aggression and symptoms of ADHD and students are better able to concentrate, complete tasks, and follow instructions. Cool Schools promotes hands-on outdoor environmental activities with a TEKS aligned STEM-based curriculum, so no child is left inside!

Foster Elementary - before Foster Elementary School after improvements
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Pillars of the Cool Schools Program Trees • Outdoor Learning • Education

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Trees

Augment tree canopy coverage on school campuses to 20 percent or more. TTF will:

  • pre- and post-assess tree canopy coverage before and after tree planting
  • arrange for maintaining trees for a period of 1-2 years to assure their growth
  • measure the projected health-outcomes related to tree plantings on those campuses for 5, 10, and 20 years in the future
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Outdoor Learning

Increase outdoor learning on the school campus to equate to one outdoor lesson per month, per teacher (10 or more/school year). TTF will conduct a pre-and post-assessment to:

  • quantify the number of uses of the outdoor classroom facility
  • assess who is using the outdoor facility and for what purposes
  • assess the number of times teachers go outside (beyond the outdoor classroom facility) for instructional purposes
  • assess any changes that could be made to future classrooms
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Education

Provide lessons and educational opportunities that can be utilized in core classes to show measurable increases in campus and grade-level test scores. TTF will:

  • track, through school profiles (provided by Dallas ISD) test scores, attendance, and discipline records to determine measurable gains.
  • create lessons which are: — directly aligned with at least one grade level TEK — nature-based, STEAM-focused, environmental, or tree-themed — adaptable to be used indoors or outside
  • provide both vertical and horizontal alignment when planning lessons for all grade levels to expand scope and consistency.
  • offer professional development to all teachers at a Cool Schools to strengthen the by-in from schools and staff.
  • create pre-and post-assessments to measure:

-increases in outdoor classroom usage
-perceived value of the program for teachers
-measurable increases in student performance (discipline, attendance, test scores)
-usefulness of Professional Development training opportunities

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Program Types

basic

Basic

• Tree Plantings
• Education and Teacher Training
• Outdoor Learning Seating and Presentation Area
• 1-2 Learning Themes

plus

Plus

• Tree Plantings
• Education and Teacher Training
• Outdoor Learning Seating and Presentation Area
• 2-3 Learning Themes
• Large Ticket Amenities

park

Park

• Tree Plantings
• Education and Teacher Training
• Outdoor Learning Seating and Presentation Area
• 3+ Learning Themes
• Large Ticket Amenities
• Playground

neighborhood park

Neighborhood Park

• Tree Plantings
• Education and Teacher Training
• Outdoor Learning Seating and Presentation Area
• 3+ Learning Themes
• Large Ticket Amenities
• Playground
• Community Engagement and Placemaking

Cool School Neighborhood Park Program in 2017, The Trust for Public Land reported only 60% of Dallas residents had a park within a 10-minute walk of home, meaning 513,961 people lacked park access.

Cool School Neighborhood Parks, in partnership with Dallas ISD, Dallas Parks and Recreation Department, and Trust for Public Land, aim to increase park access in the City of Dallas by converting the schoolyard into a public park after hours and on weekends. A Cool School Neighborhood Park has all the features of a Cool School Park as well as a community entrance, allowing the community to enjoy the new playground, walking trail and benches. Cool School Neighborhood Parks also have community engagement opportunities, park activation events, and art and placemaking elements.

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