A WEEK AT RANCHO EL CHORRO OUTDOOR SCHOOL The San Luis Obispo County Office of Education operates the outdoor school program located off of Highway One, between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay. Students participate in a 3-5 day residential program. While at the outdoor school students will receive room and board, which includes three meals/day plus snack. The outdoor school maintains a restroom and shower facility, a dining hall, an auditorium, classrooms and labs. Students are assigned a cabin group with a cabin leader. Each cabin has eight beds and has a heater. Students are placed in hiking groups and are led by Naturalists who have academic backgrounds in the sciences and natural resources. Students will experience many kinds of outdoor areas: a creek, a freshwater pond, an oak forest, grasslands, chaparral, tidepools, beaches, and the camp setting. The Marine Science component of the program is conducted in several locations along the central coast. The regular classroom teacher accompanies the students to outdoor school and on the trails. During non-instructional periods, the students are under the supervision of cabin leaders and the classroom teachers. Students are supervised 24 hours a day.
WHAT WILL THE STUDENTS LEARN? The curriculum is correlated to the Next Generation Science Standards and supports instruction in the Common Core State Standards. All lessons teach easy to understand ecological concepts that allow students to develop an appreciation of and concern for the natural world. Each student is given a journal to use during the program and to record their own personal discoveries on the trail. Examples of the science topics covered in the lessons include: plants, wildlife, insects, fresh water and marine ecosystems, earth sciences, and environmental stewardship.
OUTDOOR SCHOOL ACTIVITIES Days are quite full at the outdoor school beginning at 6:30 a.m. until lights out at 9:30 p.m. Days are spent on the trail, in recreation, resting, and at meals. Evening activities are conducted after dinner including campfire programs. Meals at the outdoor school are tasty and varied. Students learn to set tables, compost organic food waste, and clean up after their meals.
PROGRAM STAFF The Director at the Outdoor School is responsible for supervising the program. The outdoor school employs Naturalists who lead the trail groups. All of the Naturalists hold degrees in the sciences or related fields. The Naturalists play a key role in the outdoor school experience. Naturalist Interns assist in the delivery of the program. The staff also includes an Administrative Assistant, Food Service workers, and Maintenance personnel. They play key supporting roles in our program. The classroom teachers are the school district representatives and are responsible for the health and safety of the students. The teachers accompany students on hikes and supervise them at all times. The classroom teachers also play a key role in the program and are your primary contacts. Cabin leaders are parents, other school employees, or carefully selected high school students that exhibit leadership, maturity, and good academic preparation. The selection of cabin leaders is the responsibility of the participating school districts.