MIDDLE SCHOOL LEARNING RETREATS
As a part of the Middle School experience, our students and faculty members are immersed in enrichment opportunities outside of the traditional classroom.In conjunction with our Outdoor Education Program, students participate in numerous activities for self-exploration and discovery. The basic goals of all of these learning and leadership trips are for students to learn about themselves, others, and the world around them; as well as to work together and to care for each other in an environment outside the traditional classroom.
The first overnight for middle schoolers is to Wolf Run, our own 300+ acre outdoor classroom outside of Anna, Texas. Students explore the trails, lake, and lodge and collaborate with each other to prepare their own meals, including a standard Tex-Mex dinner with homemade guacamole and salsa.
After an in-depth focus on American History, sixth-grade students travel to our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., with their advisors. This highly-anticipated trip includes visits to the White House, Jamestown, and numerous American History landmarks. Many ESD alumni remember this trip as a turning point for their class as they become their own community. Students experience patriotism and government in first person, solidifying their importance as both American and global citizens.
Our seventh graders explore the Texas Hill Country at Camp Champion in November, once the Texas weather cools off a bit. Team building is interwoven into the four-day and three-night trip filled with science and history curriculum. A day trip to Enchanted Rock is a fun mountaintop experience for students and their advisors. Students return with a sense of bonding that is nurtured for the remainder of the year. Shared stories of camaraderie through travel stories contain memories that last a lifetime.
Students in eighth grade embark on an adventure to Buena Vista, Colorado during the first week of school to better foster a sense of community for their “senior” year of Middle School. Our Outdoor Education Department and advisors work closely together to provide programming for this 5 day/4 night retreat focusing on an overarching theme of Looking Beyond Ourselves with the following themes:
- Know Thyself
- Witness to Others
- Act Ethically
- Leave Legacy
Students sleep in platform tents by the Arkansas River after days filled with high ropes course, group initiatives, rock climbing and rappelling, and hiking the surrounding mountain area. But these principles are not left behind in Colorado. Our faculty continues to build on the Looking Beyond Ourselves theme throughout the school year, both in the formal curriculum and the Code of Conduct which guides all we do at ESD.