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Outdoor School Funding and
Application Overview for Teachers

Last Updated: November 2021

GENERAL INFORMATION

What is outdoor school?

Outdoor school is an immersive outdoor education experience for Oregon’s 5th and 6th grade students. Outdoor school is part of school and takes place on school days during the regular academic year. Some students attend residential (overnight) outdoor school, while others attend day programs. 

What are the benefits of outdoor school?

Oregon students who attend outdoor school show improved school engagement, interest in learning, positive school behaviors, environmental attitudes, 21st century skills (such as problem solving), and many other educational outcomes. The OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program’s report Outdoor School for All! Diverse Programming and Outcomes in Oregon (Braun 2020) provides more details about the benefits of outdoor school for students. 

What are Measure 99 funds?

In 2016, Oregon voters approved Measure 99, which dedicated funds from the Oregon Lottery to cover the full costs of outdoor school for Oregon public school students. Measure 99 funds are distributed by the Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service Outdoor School program to school districts and ESDs. 

Who develops and leads an outdoor school program?

Schools have a choice between developing their own outdoor school program or contracting with an outdoor school provider, such as a camp or environmental education organization that offers outdoor school programming during the school year. Both formats are eligible for full funding under Measure 99. A list of outdoor school sites and providers is available on the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School website.

Where does outdoor school take place in Oregon?

Schools from around the state participate in outdoor school at dozens of locations throughout Oregon. A district/school is able to choose where they would like to host their program.

Which students are eligible to use Measure 99 funds to attend outdoor school?

Every 5th and 6th grade student enrolled in an Oregon public school is eligible to use Measure 99 funds a single time (in either 5th or 6th grade). Funds are available to support the full participation of students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and Section 504 plans.

How long is an outdoor school program?

A district can apply for Measure 99 funds for outdoor school programs
ranging from 3 days, 0 nights to 6 days, 5 nights.

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FUNDING AND APPLICATION INFORMATION

What do Measure 99 outdoor school funds cover?

Measure 99 funds cover: 

  1. Personnel/stipend costs, including stipends for teachers participating in outdoor school outside of their normal compensated hours, costs for one-on-one aides or translators, and substitute reimbursements when a substitute covers the school-based duties of school personnel attending outdoor school.
  2. Unreimbursed transportation costs, which are the portion of bus costs that are not already covered by the Oregon Department of Education for transportation between the school and the outdoor school site(s).
  3. Provider fees, which are the funds a district pays to an outdoor school provider for programming (if the district uses an outdoor school provider).
  4. Program costs, such as costs to a district for organizing their own outdoor school program (if they don’t use an outdoor school provider) and/or miscellaneous costs incurred by the district, such as snacks or equipment/gear for use during outdoor school.

For more information about costs covered in each of these categories, please view the Budget Categories and Fiscal Policies.

What are the outdoor school funding baselines (previously called thresholds)?

Each year, the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program establishes funding baselines for outdoor school programs of different lengths. They are intended to provide context about average program costs and expedite the funding application process. Each year, the updated funding baselines are posted on the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School program website.

Can a school/district request funding above the outdoor school funding baselines?

Yes. The baselines are NOT caps or limits on funding. A district can request funding above the baselines during the application process.

Can a district request additional funds after they have submitted their application?

Yes. Districts are encouraged to contact the OSU Extension Service Outdoor School team (see below) as early as possible when costs are projected to increase above the amount requested in the application. The OSU Extension Service Outdoor School team will review the request and determine if funds are available to support the increase. 

 

How do schools apply for funding?

Each spring/summer, a district submits a single application for funding for the upcoming school year. This single district application includes requests for funds for all schools within the district that plan to participate in outdoor school. Schools/teachers who wish to apply for Measure 99 funding should contact their district’s outdoor school coordinator. If you do not know who to contact in your district, reach out to outdoorschool@oregonstate.edu for assistance.

How do I learn more about outdoor school?

The OSU Extension Service Outdoor School website is a great first stop for additional information about outdoor school. (It even has a Frequently Asked Questions page!) If you have other questions about outdoor school and/or would like to set up a meeting (in-person, video, or phone) to learn more, contact your Regional Coordinator (click on your county on the map) or email outdoorschool@oregonstate.edu.

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