From S.F. Examiner by Alex Emslie:
A growing movement to rethink the asphalt schoolyard and bring San Francisco public education into the sunshine could be getting a display piece at Starr King Elementary School in Potrero Hill.

The K-5 school already has a small garden, and it has become an “outdoor classroom” where students spend part of one day each week getting their hands dirty planting, harvesting and learning natural science. Starr King’s program is separate from the 22 other San Francisco Unified School District sites with outdoor classrooms served by the district-affiliated nonprofit Education Outside.

What’s different about the plan for Starr King is its scale, said Nik Kaestner, the SFUSD’s director of sustainability. What is now an asphalt-dominated schoolyard would be completely transformed by the end of summer 2016.

“There’s still basketball courts,” Kaestner said, describing a draft blueprint for the upgraded schoolyard. “However, there’s also a stormwater management creek running along the baseball diamond. There’s rainwater harvesting collection that will hopefully be feeding our first districtwide rainwater-supplied toilets. We’ve got a huge new German-style play structure that will be made of whole tree trunks as opposed to McDonald’s gray plastic and metal. We’re really trying to think outside the box.”

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