Out Teach used to be called REAL School Gardens, and before that, we were the REAL Schools Initiative.
When Texas-based philanthropist Richard Rainwater started brainstorming with his high-school friend Suzy Peacock on ways to help children in urban communities live a better life, they were determined to find a way to make a lasting difference. Together, they worked for more than a decade on a wide-range of projects involving children, education and the environment. With the help of Suzy’s friend Stacey Hodge, from 1995-2003, they built a series of learning gardens, including the ones at Alice Carlson Applied Learning Center and Morningside Elementary in Fort Worth, Texas.
Then in 2003, Suzy began working with teachers, principals, volunteers and a small staff to build learning gardens and develop teacher training and a support program to ensure their long-term success. During that time period, the organization worked with 34 partner schools, almost all of which are still a part of our growing network. In 2007, after seeing impressive results, Richard and Suzy decided to create a nonprofit designed to capitalize on the power of hands-on lessons and outdoor classrooms.
To help launch this new nonprofit, they hired Jeanne McCarty of Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots program, and she began working to expand the program and increase its impact. Jeanne and her team worked closely with seasoned educators to create our experiential outdoor curriculum and our extensive teacher training program. She also worked to create our “Big Dig” events, done-in-a-day learning garden installation projects perfect for corporate and community volunteers. Sadly, Suzy died in October of 2009, and Richard died in October of 2015, but both supported the organization right until the end, helping to ensure that the children we serve were getting excited and engaged in learning outdoors.
Our Vision — Out Teach is a national teacher-development nonprofit working to ensure that all students, no matter their resources, have access to an engaging, hands-on education that transforms their lives.
Our Mission — We equip teachers with the power of experiential learning outdoors to unlock student performance.