PTA Program Spotlight

Outdoor Education

Outdoor Education is a signature offering at Claire Lilienthal. It is an enrichment program that makes our children’s experience at Claire Lilienthal unique. Each year, students from every grade go on an outdoor education trip. These trips provide the opportunity for our kids to explore and learn about nature, science, and the outdoors with their friends and teachers.

The PTA will fund $45,000 in Outdoor Education scholarships this year so that all children can participate. Many of the excursions are multi day trips and can cost $300 - $700 per student, depending on the trip.

Here’s what the children have to say about the trips:

“In third grade outdoor ed, we hiked to the Point Bonita Lighthouse [in the Marin Headlands] and saw whales.  I liked that the fourth grade outdoor ed trip [to Sonora] was so scientific because it really got me into how cool science is.  For one project, we had 30 minutes to build a shelter out of things in nature and the counselors tested how waterproof it was!”- Charlie Zwibelman (5th grade)

“I like Outdoor Ed because you get to be out in nature and you get to learn about it and how plants and things grow. Also, you get a break from homework!”- a 5th Grader 

Look out for these trips on deck for this school year:

Green Schoolyard

Our Green Schoolyard program which brings our K-5 children outdoors every week for a science lesson from Mr. Jake & Ms. Kerri.  The PTA will fund $50,000 this year for the Green Schoolyard program through Education Outside, an organization committed to advancing science in public schools, outdoors.

On the Madison campus, children learn from Jake Minden about plant parts, how to make paper from tree pulp, states of matter, nature journalism, weather, soil and decomposition, insects and every kid’s favorite – worms! Each grade’s curriculum is complimented by an offsite field trip. These include a visit to the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, a bird observation field trip and an environmental volunteerism adventure.

On the Scott campus, Kerri Grimaldi teaches students about animal and plant adaptations, weather tools, ecosystems, rocks, water systems, food choices and cooking skills. Field trip planning is in the works.

See what our teachers and students have to say about this valuable enrichment program: 

"My favorite thing about Green Schoolyard is the Garden Jobs! You can work and clean up. I like helping our community." Mika Lincoln, 1st grade (Rm 8 Ms. Madison)

“My favorite part of the outdoor classroom is watching the kids observe the full plant life cycle from seed to edible plant. It is amazing how they take ownership over the plants and are proud of their garden beds. I love watching them interact with the garden and exploring all the growing things they planted!” Jake Minden (Madison campus)

"I like Green Schoolyard because I love nature! I want to help all the plants and animals. Mr. Jake is a great teacher." Levi Sweeny, 1st grade (Rm 7 Ms. Lee)

“My favorite part about teaching garden class is watching the students cultivate ownership over the space. They become invested in caring for their plants, cleaning the environment, and making comfortable habitats for garden creatures. They are always looking to help take care of the garden, and they are really proud of their work!” Kerri Grimaldi (Scott Campus)

Teacher Professional Development

Our teachers are one of our most important assets at Claire Lilienthal. There are many ways the PTA supports them but one way is supporting their professional development. 

The PTA will fund $20,000 for teacher professional development in the 2016-17 school year. This allows each teacher to have 3 additional professional development days per year, which teachers use to collaborate with each other, develop curricula, and share teaching strategies. This summer, we also sent teachers to Project-Based Learning World and Readers and Writers Workshop so they could share ideas with other educators and incorporate new and unique projects into their lesson plans.

Here’s what our teachers have to say about the support they receive:

“The professional development days funded by the PTA have been instrumental in CL’s successful ease into the Common Core curriculum and our current focus on Project Based Learning.  It feels incredible as an educator to get such remarkable support from our PTA. Thank you!” – Desry Guenther (6th grade teacher)

“I find that the extra professional development days are important because they allow teachers to learn and/or share strategies to support students in the classroom. One example was a series of workshops on how to use Google programs such as slides, photos, documents, and calendar to facilitate teacher-to-student, teacher-to-parent, and student-to-student communication. Another valuable experience was having time with colleagues to become familiar with the ever-changing standards and curriculum that the SFUSD has adopted over the years in order to plan ahead.” – Mitchell Reif (5th grade teacher)

“The priority that our administration & SSC have put on professional development, with the support of the PTA, has made a huge impact on our Kindergarten grade level planning, and therefore, on our students. Grade level release days are essential to thoroughly plan the most engaging and effective instruction. This summer (for the first time in 10 years of teaching at CL) I was sent to professional development outside of the district - and it was an incredible experience! The Teachers College Writing Institute at Columbia University was inspiring, invigorating, and I know that I better understand how to teach writing now. My colleagues are also benefitting from what I learned, and I can't wait to learn from my colleagues who attended Project Based Learning World. Thank you all for supporting professional development for our staff!” - Rebecca Rogers (kindergarten teacher)


CLPTA (Tax ID 0094-2954256) is a 501 (c)(3) organization

**Membership in the Claire Lilienthal PTA 2015-16 is included with your donation allowing you to vote on important issues related to your child's education. If you do not want to be a member, please send an email to