Seven Dallas ISD schools are celebrating the opening of their new Neighborhood Parks as part of the Cool Schools Program, led by Texas Trees Foundation. As part of the Cool Schools Program Neighborhood Park transformations, seven school campuses received new playground equipment, a loop trail, new trees, an outdoor learning area, and additional outdoor amenities that encourage outdoor learning. The Neighborhood Parks aim to increase park access in the City of Dallas by converting the schoolyard into a public park after hours and on weekends – and are made possible through the partnership with Texas Trees Foundation, Dallas ISD, Dallas Parks and Recreation Department, Trust for Public Land, and the generous donation from Lyda Hill Philanthropies.
“It’s a victorious milestone to be celebrating the completion of seven new Neighborhood Parks on the campuses of Dallas ISD schools. These parks not only benefit the students and teachers who use them daily but also support Dallas ISD’s goal as well as the City’s goal to increase tree canopy in Dallas and build green spaces in the community,” said Dr. Hinojosa, Dallas ISD Superintendent. “We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Texas Trees Foundation and their partners to enhance our school campuses and improve our neighborhoods.”
The new seven Neighborhood Parks have been completed on the Dallas ISD campuses of Leila P. Cowart Elementary, Anson Jones Elementary, Esperanza “Hope” Medrano Elementary, Mockingbird Elementary, Anne Frank Elementary, Harold W. Lang Sr. Middle School, and Alex W. Spence Middle School and TAG Academy.
All new neighborhood parks underwent a six-month transformation in 2021. Additionally, Texas Trees Foundation hosted a tree planting day that allowed students, teachers, and volunteers the opportunity to plant an average of 100 trees at each campus.
“Creating cleaner, greener and cooler communities is our vision, and what better way to invest that concept than into our students, schools, and neighborhoods,” said Dan Patterson, Board Chairman at Texas Trees Foundation. “We are proud to be working with Dallas ISD, City of Dallas Parks and Recreation, and our generous partners and donors to bring our vision to life and create healthier and greener outdoor spaces in schools and communities.”
Cool School Neighborhood Parks are identified through the Smart Growth study completed by the Trust for Public Land as being park-desert areas: neighborhoods that do not have park access within a 10-minute walk. In 2017, the Trust for Public Land reported only 60% of Dallas residents had a park within a 10-minute walk of home, meaning 513,961 people lacked park access.
The new seven schools are the second to last set of Cool School Neighborhood Parks to be opened in Phase One of the Cool School Neighborhood Parks, for a total of 20 parks at completion. The first set of completed Neighborhood Parks opened in May 2021. Those campuses included David G. Burnet Elementary, Sylvia Mendez Crew Academy, Frank Guzick Elementary, Reinhardt Elementary, Salazar Elementary, and PL Prep at Sam Houston Elementary.
The Texas Trees Foundation’s Cool Schools Program transforms selected school campuses into safer, cooler outdoor learning spaces with the goal of increasing outdoor education and tree canopy coverage by supplying teachers with the necessary resources, such as an outdoor classroom, to educate students about urban forestry and environmental stewardship.