Sacred Heart Teachers awarded $10,000 for outdoor learning

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 27, 2020

SALISBURY – Two teachers at Sacred Heart Catholic School have been awarded grants to improve outdoor learning spaces at the school.
The pair of grants, $5,000 each, were awarded to middle school science teacher Hillary Shores and third grade teacher Callie Michaels  by the N.C. Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council.
The $10,000 will support outdoor learning spaces at the school and science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and math programs.
Shores received funding for a covered outdoor classroom that will be adjacent to the school’s existing master garden area. Shores received funding for three projects: Picnic tables to be used as learner workspaces and installed pergolas will provide shade during the hot weather, an outdoor weather station to record daily weather and to create student discussions on climate change and weather patterns and to install a magnifying station to allow for detailed investigations of natural items.
Shores said she is thrilled she was awarded the grant and the administration encourages faculty to use the 100-acre school property creatively to ensure COVID-19 safety for students. Shores will also be adding a new environmental science course for high school credit which will use the new equipment.
Michaels received funding for an outdoor learning space for music, art and theater. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Sacred Heart must limit shared spaces and shared teachers.  The grant will help the school purchase outdoor musical instruments, easels and chalkboards. Michaels also wants to add shade and a stage for outdoor drama productions.
“We plan to begin construction and installation in September which will allow for our students to take advantage of the cooler fall weather,” Michaels said. “My plan is for our elementary students to utilize this outdoor arts area twice per week, once for using the art supplies, and once for drama performance and/or exploring the outdoor musical instruments.
Principal Tyler Kulp said he is proud of teachers thinking outside the box
Students get to walk and explore the school’s 5K nature and cross-country trail.  This trail weaves all through the property, giving the students much wooded exploration and revealing a creek full of aquatic life.
Students get hands-on experience in the master and sensory gardens.