Outdoor Teaching and Learning

Outdoor Teaching and Learning

Maine’s Outdoor Learning Initiative (MOLI) Supports Portland Public Schools Programming

FPPS is thrilled to announce that the Maine Department of Education has granted us over $220,000 to support outdoor education initiatives for Portland Public Schools students in the spring and summer of 2024.

Group team-building activities, nature-based fieldwork, learning that is part of our curriculum (Wabanaki studies in particular), and outdoor recreation (hiking, kayaking, swimming, and rock climbing) are the foundation of the PPS commitment to outdoor experiential learning. The programming that this grant will support includes:

King, Lincoln, & Lyman Moore Middle School Programming

Our middle schools will continue to partner with Rippleffect. Every Portland middle school student has a chance each year to engage in outdoor adventure and team-building activities during the school day. They learn how to use outdoor activity skills as a conscious tool to manage challenging behaviors. PPS middle school students also have opportunities to engage in outdoor leadership training after school. This work has been supported by L.L. Bean over the past several years as well. 

PATHS New Program – Outdoor Education and Leadership

In the summer of 2024, Portland Arts & Technology High School (PATHS) is launching a new career and technical education (CTE) program to build career readiness for Maine’s wide variety of outdoor careers. In the summer, students in the program will start to build their skills by running a 1-2 week long outdoor adventure camp for PPS middle school students with the new CTE program staff. This program is open to high school students from any of the sending schools to PATHS. 

Casco Bay High School (CBHS) Programming

Each year,  CBHS students participate in overnight transformative learning experiences. These extended fieldwork opportunities for all students are designed to expand students’ sense of what is possible for themselves and their world. They are unique to Casco Bay and are often the experiences that alumni recall as most impactful (each year, these programs spark new students to be interested in outdoor adventuring as a possible career).  CBHS partners with community-based groups such as Rippleffect, the Ecology School, or the Schoodic Institute. Students participate with their “crew” or advisory, which is a central part of building strong relationships at CBHS. They focus on:

  1. Leadership development activities to build self, peer and community leadership skills. 
  2. Physical fitness and building a personal connection with nature through activities like sea kayaking, hiking, wilderness camping and cooking skills, and Leave No Trace wilderness ethics.
  3. Helping students find a place of centered peace and comfort in their own solitude in nature. 
  4. Environmental education – coastal ecosystems, organic gardening, monitoring invasive

American Rescue Plan Act GEER, Reverted EANS Funding received from the USDOE support the implementation of this project. The project has an award totaling $6.6 million dollars of which 100% is federally funded and directly attributed to project implementation. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by the USDOE or the U.S. Government.

To support this work for next year and expand it, please consider a donation.