Washington Elementary Students Head Outside
April 15, 2019
Ruch Community Outdoor School Provides Outdoor Education for Washington Elementary School
Washington Elementary Outdoor Exploration Camp funded by Measure 99
Medford School District’s premiere outdoor school, Ruch Outdoor Community School, is providing a comprehensive outdoor school experience for Washington Elementary School students as part of a district and statewide effort to remove barriers for student access to outdoor education.
The Medford School District began offering outdoor school to sixth graders in 2017 after the passage of Measure 99, which designated funding for outdoor school programming for students in Oregon. This is the first year that every sixth grader in the Medford School District will participate.
“There are students in the Medford School District who have never been to Crater Lake or on a camping trip,” said Julie Barry, Principal of Ruch Community Outdoor School. “Because we are recognized as an outdoor school, we wanted to share what we do with other kids in town.”
The three-day program for Washington students will include lessons in field journaling, gold mining, watershed studies, fire ecology, and insect sampling. Students will explore area trails and even embark on a Big Foot hunt.
“We are creating a viable, inspiring program of experiential learning and we hope more schools in the future will take advantage,” said Barry.
What is Outdoor School? It is learning tied to state and national standards, but the education is outside the classroom. For example, it may include biology field trips, observing at a recycling plant or visiting a museum. It sometimes involves residential or journey wilderness-based experiences in which students participate in a variety of adventurous challenges and outdoor activities.