Middle School Seminars and 8th Grade Walkabout
Middle School Seminar experiences provide students with unique learning opportunities that cannot be duplicated after the activity has concluded. The programs are instructional, academic, and experiential in delivery. Seminars are vehicles for in-depth study and give students opportunities to practice leadership, self-reflection, critical thinking, research, and other academic skills. These skills are certainly an integral part of the classroom setting; seminars further stretch these abilities. They also challenge students to grow and encourage them to find a passion.
The primary goal of Seminar I is to build a strong foundation of community support. This is most effectively done in an environment unfamiliar to all group members and void of external distractions for an extended period of time. Across the three years a student spends in Middle School, s/he will camp in three different locations and practice the skill of teamwork through three different sets of activities. One student teamwork component common to all three Seminar I locations is the planning, purchase of food, preparation, and clean-up for all meals during the 3-day, 2-night adventure. We camp in tents and sleep in sleeping bags.
Seminar II (four days in February) and III (8 days in May)
Each seminar will include each of the following components:
- Impact component – likely to have a positive, lasting impact on participants
- Novelty component – cannot or will not happen as effectively in the classroom
- Hands-on component – students spend the bulk of their seminar time in a student-centered, authentic environment
- Comfort zone expansion component – is significantly challenging in at least one way: psychologically, academically, physically, socially/culturally
- Problem solving component – at least one segment focuses on critical thinking, design thinking, innovation, or devising creative solutions
- Collaboration component – at least one segment includes working with other students and/or professionals in the field
We encourage students to learn about and try new things as a means of discovering themselves and the world around them; this is a fundamental purpose of the Seminar Program. For this reason, students will be allowed to take a maximum of two courses falling within a single category during their tour in Middle School. Since each student will take a total of five Seminar II/III courses during their 3-years in Middle School, each student will be exposed to between three and five topic areas. Seminars will be offered in the following categories:
- Social/Current Issues
- Life Skills
In addition to Seminar III, all 8th Grade students go on Walkabout in the spring. They raft on the San Juan River and explore the Utah Canyonlands as they learn about themselves, others, and important life-long lessons in this coming of age experience named after the Australian aboriginal tradition.