- Paving the Way For Possibilities
- Why Student’s Want Outdoor Learning
- Donor Thank You
- Contributions Needed
No walls, No ceiling, No Limits to Learning
Opening Classes to Unlock Student Potential
We’d love for you to help us build three outdoor learning spaces at Turpin where students can connect outdoors academically during classes, socially during lunch, and extracurricularly outside of school hours. Outdoor learning environments have been proven to provide numerous academic and health benefits to students. Research has shown an outdoor learning environment increases focus and reduces overall behavioral concerns for students. Spending time outdoors also decreases stress and blood pressure as well as helps with sleep.
Click here to see a student testimonial video!
How the Transformation Will Be Made
Creating outdoor learning spaces for 1,100+ high school students is no small task! There will be three distinct areas can be used simultaneously by three different groups, maximizing the area’s usablity by the greatest number of students.
- Over 2,000 square feet of learning areas.
- Paver pads with ampitheater seating and picnic tables.
- Spaces will be used for class instruction, lunch seating, study hall and extracurriculars.
"If the last few years have taught me anything, it's that learning needs to be flexible. This truth is not limited to just instructional material – but the space in which learning takes place as well. A new outdoor learning space at Turpin will provide students and staff with a flexibility that was previously unimaginable."
–Eric Kenter, Turpin Language Arts Teacher
"I love to take my students outside.Whether it is for a mental wellness walk, an AP review game getting students moving and having fun, or a work day. When weather permits, I try to take my classes outside. When I tell them, you can hear the exhale and see shoulders relax. I see them on their phones less and connecting more. Class outside becomes less rigid and the change can be a light-hearted improvement. I firmly believe that outdoor spaces have the ability to impact mental health, improve classroom rapport, and even strengthen academics."
- Lindsey Stelzer, Turpin Mathmatics Teacher
Why Turpin Student’s Want Outdoor Learning
Hear about the desire for outdoor learning space from the students of Turpin High School
Getting sunlight every day helps mental health and allows students to focus on their schoolwork. - Allison, 10th grade
Providing outdoor classroom space would be great for all students. When I have the chance to get outside it helps me focus and improves my mood. - Kyle 9th grade
An outdoor classroom would be useful for a majority of reasons:
1) Extra space to have classes, besides inside. This would allow for a better work environment in the warmer days.
2) Extra outdoor eating areas for lunch. A lot of kids want to eat outside but there aren't enough tables.
The outdoor classroom would be a great way for students and teachers to have classes, hang out, and eat. It would provide a luxurious, clean area that can be used for classes. I would like to have it because on the nicer days, all I think about is being outside. The outdoor classroom, with wifi, would be a great alternative instead of sitting inside and being distracted. I think having a garden would add an extra layer of beauty to the exterior or Turpin High School also. - Alec, 9th grader
I think that it's super important for students to have time here and there where they are able to go outside during the school day. This is important because it's a time that allows for the normal day-to-day environment of a classroom to change, and that is a nice break. I feel like also getting outside when the sun is out can also just help pick me up throughout the day and make the rest of it better.
- Lauren, 11th grade
Having an outdoor classroom is beneficial for classes and students because school performance increases with time spent outside, it decreases stress and symptoms of ADHD while increasing students' mental health, and with just one class bell, students can get better sleep, with sleep having amazing benefits of its own. - Kylie, 12th grade
I would love to have a place for classes to be held outdoors. I feel that natural light and fresh air help to improve my mood and reduce stress. In my US History class last year we would occasionally take notes outside when it was nice. I know that everyone in the class liked being outside, it was a nice change from the other classes which were indoors (some of which do not even have windows). If we had an actual outdoor learning space, I feel that more teachers would have classes outside which would make people happier. - Reilly, 11th grade
Going outside could also increase/help students' mental health. - Haidyn, 11th grade
For me, it would be a good opportunity to get my mind off of stress from upcoming school events and even things going on outside of school that may be a distraction to my learning and focus in later classes. - Anjali, 9th grade
I believe that it is important for students to be able to go outside during the school day because we spend our whole day in the classroom, and most times on our computer, and being allowed to go outside would allow us to just get some fresh air and release some of the stress we may be feeling. Personally, I know when it's super nice outside, especially during the spring, I can't wait to get outside, so it would be nice if we were given the opportunity to do that. I know that it is hard sometimes with all the different classes that we are taking, but even if it is only 10 minutes it would definitely be a nice break in the day! - Maycee, 11th grade
Q: What are the benefits to the students, teachers?
A: Many students go outside during lunch but sit on the ground because there is no formal seating. If there was additional seating, more students and staff would get to enjoy the benefits of nature not just during lunch, but also during classroom instructional time and before and after school. Turpin also does not have a formal outdoor learning space where teachers can take students on nice weather days. This plan would enable three classes to utilize the space at the same time.
Q: Why are we building this space?
A: Turpin staff members took the idea to administration and they agreed that it would be a tremendous benefit all students.
Q: What do educational experts say about the benefits of outdoor learning spaces?
A: Outdoor learning is better for the brain. Studies compiled by the Children and Nature Network (C&NN) show that daily exposure to natural settings increases children’s ability to focus and therefore enhances cognitive abilities (Nancy Wells 2000). Another study pulled from the C&NN cited Andrea Faber Taylor and Frances Kuo’s 2008 findings from the Journal of Attention Disorders study on children aged 7 to 12 diagnosed with ADHD found that children with ADHD were able to concentrate better and rated their experiences more positively when compared to traditional classroom settings. Thus, for both normal cognitive functioning and impaired cognitive functioning (as found with ADHD) outdoor learning experiences make sense.
National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) backed the AIR finding, noting that 75-93% of children reported that an outdoor setting calms them down when they are angry. When thoughts are calm and collected, kids better engage, interact and learn from one another. Simply put, students involved in outdoor learning get along better, even during times of conflict. Other social benefits include improvements in self-esteem and peer-to-peer relationship building.
Findings showed improvement in concentration across all experimental conditions outside more so than in the indoor environment; positive affect improved only after being with a friend in an outdoor environment. According to the researchers, these findings suggest that spending short school breaks in a natural environment with a friend can have a significant positive impact on the psychological wellbeing of teenagers."
Q: How will the outdoor learning space be created?
A: The outdoor learning space will be designed and built professionally and all funding will be provided through community and business-based fundraising efforts.
Q: How much is it going to cost?
A: The estimated overall cost of building three unique and distinct outdoor spaces, purchasing furniture, constructing a pergola, and adding electric and lighting will be approximately $140,000.
Q: Why now and why wasn’t this part of therenovation Master Plan of renovations completed a few years ago?
A: The concept of outdoor learning space was just recently proposed by the counselors at Turpin after witnessing the continued desire of students and staff to be outdoors but the current space providing no such option. The counselors were also keenly aware of the research done regarding the benefits to students of being outside
Q: What’s in it for my family, i.e., will my children get to use it?
A: The outdoor learning space will be used by all current and future Turpin students. Our compressed timeline ensures the construction will be done during the summer to avoid disruptions to students and staff during the school year. Additionally this allows the space to be ready to use at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year.
Q: What’s the timeline?
A: The timeline is:
- May ~ Fundraising
- June ~ Groundbreaking
- June /July ~ Building spaces
- August ~ Utilizing the spaces begins
Q: In Cincinnati weather, how much use will these spaces really get?
A: The spaces will be utilized on any suitable day.
Q: How may our family participate?
A: Our community members are an integral part of making this project happen. Your family can be a leader in this project by providing a meaningful gift that is impactful to you and will help us meet the goal.
You can also be an ambassador for the project and contact others who may be passionate and interested in making an investment in this important project.
Q: How can I make a gift to this project?
A: You can make a contribution to the Outdoor Learning Space here on the PTO website.
This project would not have been possible without the generous support from our community. The PTO steering committee would like to thank all of our generous donors!
The Ben Kimble Foundation
Forest Hills Foundation for Education
Walker Brightwell Foundation
Tom and Wynne McGrew, Doug and Andrea Flora & Family, Gail Maundrel, Laminack & Meyers Family, Aimee and Forest Heis & Family, Rapid Mortgage, Jim and Dawn Yunker, Sean and Sara Lyons, Rob and Shannon Schmittauer, Ry and Shannon Walker, Paul, Annemarie, Peter & Will Henkel, The Marotti Family, Michelle and Kevin Easton & Family, Pam and Alec Tackett, Mike and Kristie Breen, The DiGiacomo Family, Barrick Family, Supporters of Diversity, Stacy and Scott Gillard & Family, Tony and Beth Compton
Beechmont Ford, Michael and Molly Prues, Travis and Jennifer Egan, The Osterlund Family, R & K Thorp, PC and Andrea Berndt, Jim and Leisa Frooman, Verma Family, American Homeland Title Community Foundation, The Doster Family, Lisa and Todd Young, The Zellen Family, Monica Hiler, Brian and Holly French, Matt and Catherine Leopard, Jen and Keith Knake, John and Wendy Holschuh, Phil and Rhonda Jones, Fahlgren Wettengel Family, Greg & Liz Elliott, Beth and Brian Jordan, Dr. Richard & Maureen Niemeier, Scott & Julie Sheffer, McGrew Family, Class of 94!, Combs Family, Mika and David Wolffor, Bottoms Family, Chris Wolfer, Carnevale Family, Geoff and Jennifer Zimmerman, Danielle Lumpkin-Miller, The Kissel Family, For Future Generation, Turpin Parent, Bliss Family
Chad and Christa Martin, Addressed for Success
Katie Baldasare Graphic Design
Mark Birk, Quality Blacktopping
Doug McLean, McLean Company
In addition to all of our contributors we had an amazing team who made our vision come to life in a short amount of time so students could use the space this year:
- Jim Bailey, Adam Clifton, Zach Crawford, and the Evans Landscaping team
- Fred Stang, Atkins, and Stang
- Bill Newton, Greenfield Plant Farm
- Mark Birk, Quality Blacktopping
- Josh Scallon, The Canadian Contractor
- The many students who volunteered over the summer to assemble picnic tables and set plumbing lines
- Larry Corley, FHSD Supervisor, Maintenance and Facilities and Doug Baker, Turpin Head Custodian provided priceless advice throughout the project
- Frank Burns for the original design
Charitable Gifts Will Help Create Three Outdoor Learning Spaces
All gifts are tax-deductible and will be publicly acknowledged according to the personal wishes of the donor.
Anonymous gifts are welcome as are those given in honor of an individual, family, or organization. Gifts-in-kind and/or gifts-in-service impacting direct costs of the classrooms are encouraged and will be recognized accordingly.
Questions? Please contact Michelle Easton.