The end of the Eighth Grade year is a pivotal time for students. They are contemplating leaving the Middle School and entering, anxiously in many cases, the Upper School. We would like this transition to be as smooth as possible and at the same time celebrate and culminate their middle school careers with a “capstone” experience. Field Studies was born out of this idea.

The Field Studies program provides a different venue for our academic program by combining outdoor education, group living dynamics, and personal responsibility. It also gives students an opportunity to learn about their upcoming experience in high school from current high school students.

Our goals of Field Studies are to provide an active, outdoor classroom with an atmosphere that:

  • provides a non-threatening forum to talk about adolescent issues
  • prepares students for the thrills and spills of high school
  • encourages independence, responsibility for oneself, and responsibility in a group
  • improves interpersonal skills while living in a group(sharing tents)
  • requires students have to clean up after themselves and see the value of it (improve environmental awareness)
  • gives students an opportunity to experience a short outdoor adventure (sea kayaking, a short hiking trip, bird watching, mountain biking)

Students will be immersed in topics which include: outdoor art classes, birding, Wilderness First Aid, survival skills/shelter/fire, outdoor poetry and personal reflection.
Students will also have the opportunity to participate in outdoor activities such as a challenge course, hiking, sea kayaking and mountain biking.

We will also use this opportunity to talk with the students about the transition between the eighth and the ninth grades. We will be asking upper school students to take the lead in these conversations, but an adult will be present. Topics will included Tolo and other dances, dating; the commitment of upper school athletics and the Arts; and the real possibility of being invited to parties. Other topics will include the added rigors of Upper School classes, time management, free blocks, and using the extra help period.



José Gonzalez
Experiential Education Department Chair