As Birmingham-area families transition back to school this week after a (mostly) sunny spring break, students at The Altamont School are already looking ahead to next school year and a weeklong adventure of a different sort. Just before spring break, upper school students at Altamont signed up for what the school calls “Fall Project Week” trips.
For one week in October, all Altamont students go on teacher-led Fall Project Week trips. A staple of the Altamont curriculum since the late ’90s, Project Week allows students to learn through experience.
These dynamic journeys range in subject matter and cost so that every student can enjoy unique educational opportunities. Students in grades 5-9 take class trips to Camp McDowell, Space Camp, Camp High Rocks (North Carolina), Washington DC and Disney World, respectively.
Upper school students choose from a variety of trips that take them as far away as Greece, Slovakia, France or Ecuador. Or they may select trips a little closer to home based on a specific interest, such as the technology-themed trip to Silicon Valley in California, led by Altamont’s computer science teacher and director of education technology.
All students are encouraged to take the college trip at some point during their time at Altamont. This fall students on the college trip will tour nine schools in the Boston area with Altamont’s college counselor, Cameron Gaede, including Harvard, Emerson, MIT, Boston College and Wellesley.
“The benefit of the college trip is that students visit a wide variety of schools: small, large, urban, suburban, liberal arts colleges and Tier 1 national research universities. They are able to see what learning environment they like best. We can then translate those preferences into colleges and universities in any part of the country,” said Gaede.
On the Silicon Valley trip, students have behind-the-scenes access to a variety of tech firms, with tours often orchestrated by Altamont alumni who work in the area. “It’s a rare opportunity for students in high school to see tech companies the way we do. Our students are able to ask a wide range of questions. They are also able to get first-hand information about traditional, and non-traditional, routes into tech,” said Rob Dominguez, Altamont’s director of education technology.
Open House on April 14
The Altamont School will be hosting an Open House on Sunday, April 14 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. where families can learn more about Fall Project Week trips and other unique educational experiences the school offers. Contact Thomas Goldsmith, Director of Admissions, for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.