Pattie Heitzman

Bentonville High School
Bentonville, AR

Project Description:

Heitzman’s winning program, “Outdoor Education,” is designed to help students who are at risk of not finishing high school. The program offers best practice alternative learning modules. The outdoor environment is a natural place to implement smaller class sizes, counseling, social skills training, and hands-on learning opportunities. Studies have shown that outdoor education programs result in greater motivation and engagement for ‘at-risk’ learners. By engaging the ‘at-risk’ student population, the hope is that there will be a corresponding increase in graduation rates. Community support organizations have also been intertwined with the project. Already in place are members of the Arkansas Game and Fish Department, an alliance with a local bike shop, area outfitters for canoe /kayak rentals, and many special guest speakers to speak about their area of expertise. Parent participation is also required to help chaperone field trips. The project will be evaluated through student pre- and post- questionnaires concerning attitudes toward school and healthy living. Also, teacher pre and post-evaluations of student engagement and motivation levels will be utilized. Heitzman lives in Rogers.