Central Washington

Sixth grade soaks up the sun in Vantage

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The sixth grade traveled to Vantage in central Washington for a week of camping, climbing, hiking and studying of geology. The students had the opportunity to visit Dry Falls as well as Lake Lenore Caves.

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Students climbed a variety of routes on basalt rock formations in Vantage and had the opportunity to rappel as a final culminating challenge.

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Each evening the trail groups would meet to reflect on and savor their new experiences. The educational focus of the trip was studying the mega floods of the ice ages that carved the landscape during several catastrophic flood events.

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Student spent the week looking for evidence of the floods, such as hanging valleys and erratic boulders.

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Everyone on the trip returned to Westside sun kissed, full of energy and new memories and feeling closer as a community.  

Sixth grade bravely climbed, rappelled, and explored!

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Last week, the sixth grade traveled to central Washington with the YMCA and Westside School faculty Lauren, Glyn, Jason, and Colleen. The group explored and adventured around Dry Falls, Lenora Caves, Vantage, Frenchman’s Coulee and Ginkgo Petrified Forest. Students were able to witness and experience a unique desert landscape created by the Ice Age Missoula Floods, all the while pushing their limits and comfort zones while camping and climbing!
Brave and strong sixth grade students advanced their knowledge of climbing and belaying, and learned to rappel!

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The community, responsibility, and enthusiasm shown at the climbing wall transferred to camp life as well, where students helped to cook each meal, and practiced the principles of Leave No Trace.
In their down time, students hiked to caves, sand dunes and waterfalls, played games, and relaxed by the Columbia River. A wonderful week was had by all!

Outdoor Education for Middle School Students – spring trips!

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It’s that time of year again – spring trips (and spring weather!!!) are on their way! This spring, each of the Middle School grade level groups will be headed out on a great adventure. As always, if your family has any outgrown items to donate to our student gear closet (rain and winter jackets and pants, synthetic clothing, backpacks, sleeping bags, and other miscellaneous gear are all welcome – we especially need larger sizes!), please drop it off in Sarah Harper-Smith’s room (142).

Trip letters and gear lists will be coming soon, but it’s not too early to start getting excited for the next great adventure!

Olympic Penninsula

Fifth gradeOlympic Peninsula Ecology and History

The fifth grade class will travel across the Olympic Peninsula, with a focus on the Elwha river (and dam removal), Makah history and culture (in and around the town of Neah Bay, WA), and coastal and marine ecology. This trip includes a one-night backpacking trip to the coast.

Leaders: Jeremy, Kristel, Marc, Mary and expert Field Instructors

Central Washington Rocks

Sixth grade Central Washington Rocks!

The sixth grade will spend the week exploring the rocks of central Washington, building on their studies of land forms, plate tectonics, and geology in science class, as well as continuing to improve the rock climbing skills developed in the fall. Primary destinations include Dry Falls State Park and rock climbing sites near Vantage, WA.

Leaders: Lauren, Glyn, Mike, Michelle, and expert Field Instructors

Grande Ronde River

Seventh grade – Grande Ronde River Adventure

The seventh grade class will venture out of Washington and into northeastern Oregon for a rafting adventure on the Grande Ronde river – students will paddle, float, explore, and play their way 40 miles through the river canyons, starting near Minam, OR and ending up just south of the Washington border.

Leaders: Susannah, Michael, and expert Field Instructors


Eighth grade – Mt. St. Helens Adventure and Retreat

On this capstone eighth grade adventure, the week will be broken into two parts: (1) the first half of the week adventuring and exploring at Mt. St. Helens, studying the impacts and recovery from the 1981 eruption, as well as utilizing the outdoor skills students have gained throughout Middle School to take on the Survival Challenge, and (2) the second half of the week will be focused on looking back at Middle School and forward to High School – a time for reflecting, sharing, and enjoying one another’s company at Anderson Lodge, just south of Mt. St. Helens.

Leaders: Sarah, Don, Kate, and an expert Field Instructor