Moore Holds Dedication Ceremony for Schoolyard Improvements
Lyman Moore Middle School will hold a dedication ceremony for a new outdoor classroom and other schoolyard improvements on October 28 from 2 to 2:30 p.m. at the school.
Students involved in planning and carrying out the project will participate in the ceremony. Moore’s band and chorus will perform. Commander Curtis Ballantine of the American Legion will raise the flags on the school’s new flagpole.
Students in Margaret Mountcastle's functional academics program and sixth graders in Julie Marshall’s technology education classes helped to initiate and design the Moore schoolyard improvements last year as a service learning project.
Moore sixth and seventh graders worked with Portland Trails this fall to create the outdoor classroom with perennials, shrubs and benches. The functional academic students painted the lines on the school’s basketball court. A Moore student solicited donations of a flag and flagpole for the school. Additional schoolyard improvements are planned over the next three to five years.
The project began last year when students brainstormed ways to make the school’s landscape more welcoming, to provide places to play, exercise and do other activities and to engender a sense of community and school pride.
The students interviewed teachers, coaches and custodians to better understand how spaces are used and problems that existed. They learned where the snow is piled by the plow, where food, supplies, and materials are delivered, where parents drop off and pick up their child and how students use outdoor areas for physical education. They observed and recorded the elevation of the land, location of bike racks, areas that are off-limits to students and the existing structures around the school building.
They identified possible solutions by participating in a charrette, an intense design session to solve a given problem. Students then led two charrettes, one with the Moore staff and another with community members. Sashie Misner, a landscape architect, developed a concept map using ideas generated at all three charrettes.
Suggestions from the charrettes included adding fencing, places to sit, outdoor classrooms with amphitheater seating, a graffiti wall, a mosaic or statue of a falcon (the school’s mascot), an obstacle course, flower beds, a mural and a natural habitat in and around the retention pond. Participants also suggested moving the Lyman Moore sign to a more visible location, adding a covered awning or pergola along the bus waiting area and using plants, art and signs that would give a multicultural element to the design.
Students identified their criteria for the best ideas: inexpensive, safe, functional, easy to maintain year-round, educational, would not encourage vandalism.
They worked in groups to create a design, make a model and present possible solutions to the class. The five classes selected as their solutions building an obstacle course, a graffiti wall, raised garden beds and benches and painting the lines on the basketball court.
Once students selected the best solutions, they had to determine how to construct them. They drew isometric, oblique and perspective drawings, selected material and calculated costs.
Portland Trails began working with students last month to construct an outdoor classroom on the west wall of the building. Project funders include Portland Trails, School Ground Greening, the Betterment and Simmons Foundation and Kids Consortium.
Last year, a Moore eighth grader, Sam Leubbert, solicited donations of a flag pole and United States flag for the school. Maine Governor Paul LePage donated the pole and the Harold T. Andrews Post of the American Legion gave the flag.