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.
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.
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
- 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.
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