Situated among the skyscrapers of downtown Oklahoma City, John Rex Charter Elementary School touts a unique, urban education for pre-K through 5th grade students. And now, they’re not only expanding grade levels, but they’re holding classes in the Myriad Botanical Gardens.
“We walk over there now,” said Head of Schools Dr. Joe Pierce. “We go over there for nature walks and they write poetry, they do STEM activities. We walk to the museum, we walk to the downtown library – that’s just part of their experience. This is just taking it up a notch.”
John Rex sixth graders will start in the rental spaces below the Crystal Bridge in 2018. And the next year, they'll add seventh grade to the site and the following year they’ll add eighth grade.
The expansion was made possible by the Inasmuch Foundation.
Students will soak up beautiful views from their seats in class. On top of that, they'll get to explore the park.
“They can use our Crystal Bridge as a wonderful tropical classroom where they can learn about oranges and mangoes and coffee and chocolate and where all these things that we eat come from in the tropics,” said Maureen Heffernan.
The students can also help with planting and butterfly projects, Heffernan added.
“We don’t know of another public school and a botanical garden that has a partnership like this anywhere in the United States,” said Dr. Pierce.
There will be some changes made to the spaces at the Gardens for the school, including security enhancements.
Heffernan said construction will begin the first week of April.