Edible Schoolyard Outdoor Classroom

Starting in the fall of 2016, Small Center teamed up with First Line Schools, Edible Schoolyard New Orleans, and Phillis Wheatley Community School to reimagine what an outdoor garden space and classroom could look like.

Project Dates

August 2016–June 2017


The educational landscape in New Orleans has changed vastly since Hurricane Katrina. The city is served by a decentralized charter school system, and many charter schools have emerged to test various models of education. First Line Schools (FLS) is one such charter which has a signature program called Edible Schoolyard New Orleans (ESY NOLA). ESY NOLA’s aim is to improve the long-term well-being of their students, families, and school community, by integrating hands-on organic gardening and seasonal cooking into the school curriculum, culture, and cafeteria programs.

Small Center Engagement

Small Center started working with ESY NOLA in Fall 2016 to develop a design plan for the Garden Kitchen Classroom at Firstline’s Phillis Wheatley Community School in Tremé, developing design concepts that will serve as a tool to help secure funding for the outdoor multi-use weather-proof classroom.

Partner Organization

Edible Schoolyard New Orleans (ESY NOLA), is a signature program of FirstLine Schools and provides K-12 students across FirstLine’s five open enrollment schools in New Orleans with a rich array of experiences that will prepare them for success in school and in life.

First Line Schools’ mission is to create and inspire great open admissions public schools in New Orleans.


The desired outcome is an increased capacity to teach students, increased parent participation and more connection with the surrounding community. Small Center is developing a booklet that will explore and translate the garden classroom vision so that the First Line and ESY NOLA team can fundraise for and implement the vision.


Edible Schoolyard NOLA

  • Kerrie Partridge
  • Charlie Weber

First Line Schools Operations

  • Chris Bowers
  • Rebekah Cain
  • Joe Neary

First Line Schools Development

  • Claudia Barker
  • Alisha Johnson

Phillis Wheatley Community School

  • Sienna Kuykendall
  • Charlotte Steele

Team Members

Project Leads

  • Seth Welty (Design Lead)
  • Emilie Taylor Welty (Project Manager)
  • Sue Mobley (Engagement Advisor)


  • Kristen McDaniel
  • Rachel Neu
  • Ethan Shaw


  • Shoshana Gordon
  • Maggie Hansen
  • Nick Jenisch
  • Donn Peabody


  • Johnson Controls, Inc.
  • Enterprise Holdings Foundation