What is the Living Schoolyard Grant Program?

The 2022-23 San Mateo County Living Schoolyard Grant Program will support nine (9) school communities with a $5,000 grant to either start or maintain a living schoolyard effort. This program provides one-time funding that is only available in the 2022-23 school year.

Applications for the Living Schoolyard Grant Program are due by Wednesday, June 15, 2022.

What is a "Living Schoolyard?"

For this grant program, a “Living Schoolyard” is defined as a feature or element that supports student learning, diversifies play opportunities, and enhances the ecological benefits of a school grounds. This grant program recognizes that developing living schoolyards is an equitable way to provide regular access to high-quality green spaces for every child at that school.

Research has demonstrated that living schoolyards increase educational and health equity for all students. Additionally, living schoolyard elements can increase local biodiversity, benefit natural habitats, and integrate natural systems into the built environment. 

Grant Program Requirements and Objectives

Program Objectives

The grant program's objectives are designed to ensure the longevity of living schoolyard initiatives and elements. Through research and experience, it is clear that the most impactful initiatives include the following: well-designed and planned elements, prioritization of student involvement, connections with community-based partner organizations, and efforts to share the stories and impact with the broader community. With that in mind, the grant program has been designed to achieve the following objectives for each site.

Eligibility and Prioritization

Eligibility and prioritization will be based on the following criteria:

  • This grant can only be used at a public school (including charters) within San Mateo County.
  • Priority will be given to schools in districts with a high Equity Index, a multiple measure score that reflects funding gaps, student performance, and panel recommendations.
  • Priority will be given to schools with gardens or outdoor learning programs that are less than five years old (started no earlier than 2017-18).

Final Report Overview

By May 14, 2023, grantees will be required to submit a report that will include a summary of how the grant funds were applied to advancing living schoolyard efforts at the site and how they were utilized for student learning. The report should include photos as well as testimonials and quotes from teachers and students. Content from this report will be used for a 2023 Living Schoolyard Month feature article written by the San Mateo County Office of Education.An image of a rain barrel in a garden

Resources

To learn more about Living Schoolyards and their great benefits for academic, social, and physical health, visit the following resources: