Maple Grove Charter School expands outdoor learning with grant funds

Second graders Avery Kleinschmidt (front), Mason Severt (left), and Clay Sabatke (back) show off their discoveries during outdoor learning time at Maple Grove Charter School. Submitted photo.

Maple Grove Charter School, a public K-5 school located in Hamburg, now a part of the Athens School District, was recently named as a recipient of the Wisconsin Charter Schools Program (WCSP) grant. The school will receive $550,000 in funding over the course of three academic years: 2022-23, 2023-24, and 2024-25. The funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Education to support public charter schools like Maple Grove.

Agriscience and outdoor education are the main focuses of the grant-funded programming. Through partnerships and curriculum, Maple Grove hopes to expand its existing maple syrup and chicken projects, as well as start gardening curriculum. The school is partnering with Field Edventures to provide training on outdoor curriculum and with CESA 9 to provide professional development and coaching in reading/English Language Arts curriculum (EL).

Learning projects supported by grant funding include field trips to outdoor locations to study marine life and water quality and weekly outdoor learning that leverages Maple Grove’s on-site school forest to help students study wildlife and vegetation. Grant funding also supported installation of maple sap pipeline and equipment in the school’s maple forest, which will allow students to compare sap production of pipeline trees and traditionally tapped trees.

The school has already seen growth of 20 percent over last year’s enrollment, with 91 learners enrolled currently. The school hopes to build on its rich history to become a hub for families around the region who are looking for outdoor learning opportunities for their children. Maple Grove is now accepting applications for the 2023-2024 school year at The school is holding an Open House at Maple Grove Charter School, 135594 Cty. Rd. L, Hamburg/Athens, on March 9, 2023, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. and will offer tours, an art show, and refreshments.

Field Edventures instructor, Sandy Denton, on-site at Maple Grove Charter School is leading a lesson for second graders. Submitted photo.

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