Updates from ASLA

ASLA 2021 General Design Award of Excellence. Natural History Museum of Utah: A Museum Without Walls. Salt Lake City, UT. Design Workshop, Inc. >

Department of Education COVID-19 Handbook Creates Major Role for Landscape Architects in PreK-12 Afterschool Learning Community During Pandemic Recovery

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Department of Education developed the first handbook focused on safe reopening strategies, and now the “COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students' Needs” offers a holistic focus rooted in scientific research on the social, emotional and academic needs of students and educators. The collaboration of superintendents, school board leaders, education and civil rights groups, research organizations, and others presents a unique opportunity to raise the profile of landscape architecture as a problem-solving field with the potential to impact educational opportunity gaps and even support the healing of students from traumas resulting from the pandemic and racial injustice.

The last year has provided landscape architects unprecedented opportunities to collaborate with school communities to create learning experiences in outdoor design. Many members have helped raise the profile of the profession and spark new dialogues around STEM education, mental health, racism, and equity through virtual in-classroom activities and, equally important, through afterschool learning programs. The COVID-19 Handbook cites afterschool programs as a critical tool for the entire school community. It serves to supplement academic learning and support the social and emotional development of students. According to the Afterschool Alliance, a partnering member of the STEM Education Coalition, decades of research have shown that afterschool and summer learning programs boost students’ academic performance and social-emotional development.

Learn how your ASLA chapter can help partner with local afterschool programs to promote the profession and position students for success in the coming months and years.

  1. Learn more about the Afterschool Alliance in Your State. Explore facts and figures on how children in your area spend their hours after school; state policy and funding information; afterschool champions and voices; and contacts in your state.
  2. Familiarize yourself with ASLA’s Tools for PreK-12 Teachers and share them with educators in your network.
  3. Join ASLA’s PreK-12 Educator Community and learn more about ASLA’s first PreK-12 Summit entitled "DREAM BIG with Design, A Showcase of Landscape Architecture and PreK-12 Design Learning" on Thursday, September 23 and Friday, September 24, 2021.

About the Afterschool Alliance

The nation's leading voice for afterschool, the Afterschool Alliance is the only organization dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of afterschool programs and advocating for more afterschool investments. The Afterschool Alliance works with the Administration, the U.S. Congress, governors, mayors and advocates across the country. Today the Afterschool Alliance boasts more than 25,000 afterschool program partners and our publications reach more than 65,000 interested individuals every month.

About ASLA Career Discovery and Diversity

ASLA Career Discovery and Diversity means:

  • Building strong community relationships
  • Developing quality resources for students, teachers and members
  • Partnering with educator and advising professionals
  • Exploring landscape architecture as a STEM discipline
  • Modeling effective outreach engagement for ASLA chapter adoption and implementation

Learn more about ASLA Career Discovery and Diversity programming efforts and resources.

Have questions? Email Lisa J. Jennings, Manager, Career Discovery and Diversity at

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