Pendleton School District’s Outdoor School (ODS) program recently encountered a big change. This is the last year that sixth graders from Sunridge Middle School will attend ODS. For several weeks last month (October), this year’s sixth graders attended the program. While ODS is usually run in the spring, the middle school had sixth graders attend this fall, as all fifth graders in the district will be attending in Spring 2024.
The district transition from having all fifth graders attend this traditional program instead of sixth graders was done for various reasons. The spring schedule conflicted with the testing schedule for sixth graders at SMS; also, many substitute teachers were needed for long periods of time.
The same curriculum and model, where students rotate to different stations around the outdoor camp, will be used for the fifth-grade Outdoor School program.
“Our sixth graders had a great time this fall at Outdoor School. We are excited to continue the program since it is a longstanding tradition for PSD, and we know our fifth graders will really enjoy the experience,” said John Summerfield, SMS Social Studies Teacher and ODS Coordinator.
Pendleton School District’s Outdoor School has been running for 52 years. It is held at the U.S. Forest Service’s Buck Creek Cabins/Corporation facility on the Umatilla National Forest, on the banks of the Umatilla River. Students are bused to the site every day and spend the day in field studies to learn about natural habitats and outdoor skills. The field studies are taught by federal, state, and local natural resource employees and volunteers from the region.