Students remember experiences that integrate what they have just learned. Teachers actively seek to enhance a classroom lesson with an experience off campus. This could include a walk to the fire station or the Moraga Community Garden; it could be a visit from the Lindsay Wildlife Museum or East Bay Vivarium; it could be driving to the Chabot Space and Science Center, or even a visit to the Museum of the American Indian. Making connections creates impressionable memories and leads to higher engagement in learning.
Beginning in fourth grade, students have annual overnight trips to engage more deeply with the classroom material. Whether it’s a one-night trip to Coloma, two nights in the Marin Headlands, or a week in Westminster Woods, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico, the students are active, responsible, and engaged. Continuing to keep the Saklan mission in mind, the students represent our school as they work hard, collaborate, present, summarize, and reflect during their off-site experiences.
In addition, middle school students spend the first three days of school on a retreat (The Advance) to set the tone for the school year. Some of the goals of The Advance include community building activities through positive interpersonal interactions and challenges, reviewing community expectations, embracing the Saklan mission statement, and setting goals for the upcoming year. Older and returning students are responsible for taking more of a leadership role at The Advance, mentoring the new and younger ones.