Community Spotlight – Norton Park School Grant

When Norton Park Elementary applied for a Keep Smyrna Beautiful School Grant last year, they had a vision! They wanted a beautiful, multifunctional outdoor learning space.

An existing space that had once been well-utilized had fallen into disrepair. As the school’s proposal stated, “Over time, weeds have grown up, the bench seating has become weathered, some are even broken, and unwanted things have been tossed into this space.”

A team of students and staff put together a plan to revitalize the neglected outdoor area. They decided to turn it into a true community learning center where children could perform plays and chorus concerts, hold club meetings, learn hands-on science lessons, and host family movie nights.

Over a series of workdays, they weeded and cleaned. With KSB School Grant support, they were able to add picnic tables, flowers, mulch, and even a pair of binoculars. When the school year kicked off at the beginning of August this year, the Norton Park STEM & Arts Outdoor Learning Center was ready for students!

“Norton Park is thrilled to use our new outdoor learning center this upcoming school year!” says STEM Lab Teacher Jennifer MacDonald. “Many teachers are looking to use the outdoor learning center to strengthen their teaching of priority standards while other teachers look forward to using the center as a starting point of their science units.”

Teachers also plan to use the space for reading and studying the butterfly life cycle. The school plans to eventually revamp an existing butterfly garden in the area, as well as add a vegetable and fruit garden.

“This area is PERFECT for reading,” adds MacDonald.

To learn more about KSB School Grants visit

© 2024 by Keep Smyrna Beautiful.