Community Schoolyard

Our school’s outdoor spaces serve many purposes – a place to play, learn, gather, and celebrate. And, we know that our schoolyard can be so much more. Twenty-five years old and showing its age, our playground schoolyard needs some love and attention. To reimagine the schoolyard, Jefferson Elementary is partnering with Trust for Public Land (TPL) a parks and playgrounds nonprofit with offices in St. Paul! This partnership will help drive the creation of new outdoor spaces at Jefferson Elementary through a community-centered design process. 

Visit Trust for Public Land Community Schoolyards page, Minnesota website or browse the statewide schoolyard assessment

Contact the Jefferson Elementary Schoolyards Team:
Principal Jurrens, Jefferson Elementary
Eric Weiss, Trust for Public Land


Community Schoolyards are:

  • Park-like Places:  Community Schoolyards function like parks. They are packed with trees, landscaping, play structures, gathering spaces, athletic facilities, public art, and green infrastructure.
  • Designed by the Community:  Community Schoolyards are designed by the community, for the community, through a dynamic participatory design process.
  • Designed with Intention:  Community Schoolyards are designed to improve health, combats inequities, and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
  • Welcoming to Everyone:  Community Schoolyards are shared spaces that are open and welcoming to the public.

Learn More!


What will the new schoolyard look like?

We are still in the process of developing a final plan. An early concept plan (see below) identifies general themes, and possible locations, of future infrastructure improvements. 

Click here to view Project 2 Concept & Phasing Plan


How you can help design the new schoolyard

Parents/Guardians, Teachers, and Community Member involvement:

  • Serve as a Schoolyard Champion to help with design, engagement, and fundraising.
  • Complete a concept plan survey
  • Participate in workshops, events, and meetings
  • Help fundraise, apply for grants, and secure funding
  • Tell your friends, neighbors, and colleagues about the project

Student involvement:

  • In 2021-22 the 3th grade served as the ‘student leader class.’ The same students, now 4th graders will continue their efforts in the 2022-23 schoolyear.
  • Share ideas in assemblies, activities, and surveys
  • Join with parents and guardians at workshops, events, and meetings

When will this work take place?
Planning and engagement work will continue through late winter/early spring 2023. Construction of the new schoolyard and playgrounds will take place in phases.


Click Image to Read Full Overview

First page of the PDF file: JeffersonConcept1CommunitySchoolyardsOverviewPosters1


Project Phasing Overview

Project 1 – Site Circulation and Park: Summer 2022 (Complete

Project 2 – Front Playground Nature-based Improvements and Outdoor Learning: 

  • Fundraising, Planning and Design: Winter-Spring 2023
  • Construction: Summer 2023

Project 3 – Front Playground Sports and Games

  • Planning and Design: Winter-Spring 2023
  • Fundraising: Until funding secured
  • Construction: Dependent on successful fundraising


First page of the PDF file: JeffersonSchoolyardProjectPhasingrev
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