Stevens Park Elementary School has a new outdoor classroom thanks to adjacent neighborhood associations and Heritage Oak Cliff.
Stevens Park Estates and Stevens Park Village donated the outdoor classroom, a plaza with flower beds and four picnic tables, with grants they received from Heritage Oak Cliff earlier this year.
The nonprofit formerly known as the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League raises money through its annual home tour. Then it makes grants available to member neighborhoods. Those grants often are used for neighborhood beautification or crime patrols.
“We asked, ‘what can neighborhoods do to help the school?’ ” says Heritage Oak Cliff president Ellie Hajek.
They started by signing up as volunteer reading partners. And when the grants became available this year, neighbors decided to give something to the school. They also held work days to create and plant the flower beds.
The outdoor classroom previously was a lost space, a dirt corner. Now it has become a popular place for teachers to hold class. Principal Cameron Ramirez says it’s used every day, and teachers often use “class outside” as a reward for students.