At Summit, our location in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Cashiers, North Carolina offers abundant opportunity to engage the outdoors in the student learning experience, fostering character development, leadership, and critical thinking.
Summit’s Outdoor Education program is integrated throughout the K-12 student experience. Beginning in grades K-5, students participate in outdoor education experiences beginning in grades K-5 exploration of the natural world through the woods, trails, and outdoor learning spaces across Summit’s campus and venturing beyond to explore the cultural and natural environments of the local area.
In middle school, students continue to experience integrated outdoor learning throughout their core classes through both on-campus and off-campus outdoor learning experiences. Middle school students also participate in“Quest” learning expeditions, culminating in end-of-year capstone trips in each grade level. Sixth grade participates in an overnight experience at a local environmental and adventure education center, seventh grade students spend two days on a rock-climbing trip, and 8th grade explores the culture and natural environment of the Atlantic on a weeklong trip to the Barrier Islands. Additionally, middle school students participate in a range of other day and overnight experiences throughout the school year, such as a multi-day trip on the Appalachian Trail to conduct water monitoring experiments in 8th grade. And, at the end of each school year, all middle school students attend a two-day outdoor adventure program facilitated by the Nantahala Outdoor Center.
In high school, students embark on their high school experience in 9th grade with a week-long orientation in the Teton Mountain Range of Wyoming. Immersed in the wilderness, students develop self-awareness, teamwork, and leadership. The ninth grade Teton experience serves as a foundation for a four-year experiential, individualized leadership development program that includes monthly field studies in our community and natural surroundings. Through experiences in the outdoors and beyond the traditional classroom, our students develop the confidence, interpersonal skills, and leadership that prepare them for success in college and pursuits beyond.