Cascades Academy Independent School PK-12
Spring'em Week
Spring'em Week

Photo: The Catlow Valley from the Roaring Springs Ranch during last year's Spring'em course "Issues Surrounding the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Takeover"

In several weeks we will be kicking off our annual Spring'em Week featuring a range of weeklong courses that we hope will both challenge and inspire our students. This idea gained traction a couple of years ago with the CA Upper School adding an interim week of courses for our older more mature students. These courses went so well that the MS adopted the vision and the result has been our Spring'em Week. This year Spring'em Week will take place between March 11-15th. It is clear that these courses capture all the important elements of the Cascades Academy experience; they are challenging, they are creative, they are thought-provoking, they involve community partnerships, and they are experiential. And they are fun!

Think Wild Week: Think Wild Week provides experiential wildlife education to introduce students to issues wildlife are facing, and inspire solutions to mitigate pressures to wildlife in their day to day lives. Students will learn about conservation issues and solutions through experiential, hands-on, and service learning. The week is comprised of a combination of presentations, outdoor exploration, self-reflection, experiential lesson plans, and field trips. Students will take home hands-on practical knowledge that provokes conservation in their day to day lives and becomes stewards of wildlife and natural areas. Curriculum and lessons for Think Wild Week are a combination of Project Wild K-12 curriculum, Leave No Trace Education, National Wildlife Federation Education, and data from Think Wild. Though Think Wild Week is geared towards environmental science and conservation initiatives, the week includes lessons which cover science, social studies, language arts, visual arts, and math. (Middle School only)

Yearbook, Storytelling, and Design: Do you want to play a vital role in the middle school portion of the school's yearbook? This week-long course is the perfect opportunity for you. Throughout the week students will be finding and writing the stories they think need to be told in our yearbook. Specifically, the students will be responsible for all of the content, pictures, captions, layout, and design of the middle school portion (and potentially more) of the yearbook. To kick off this week, students will have the opportunity to participate in Portland Media Day on Friday, March 8th, which will require an overnight stay at a hotel in Portland on Thursday, March 7th. During the week of March 11th, students will meet with Genie Westfall, our yearbook representative, who will walk through the digital yearbook program that we use. Other workshops during that week will include lessons in photography, graphic design, and story writing. (Middle School Only)

The Art of Cooking: Students will join chef Kristin Broumas for a unique cooking and learning experience aboard the House in the Fields, mobile restaurant. Students will learn to take basic, simple ingredients and turn them into something extraordinary. Students will learn how to combine flavors to create a delicious meal. They will also learn a host of basic techniques including knife skills, cooking techniques such as roasting, sautéing, and baking. Students will be 100% hands-on and making items such as bread, pasta, soups, salads, and desserts. No prior cooking experience required. Kristen has extensive experience in all aspects of the field including dishwashing, pastry chef, sous chef and now chef of her own enterprise - House in the Fields. This course will culminate in student chefs preparing a meal for a guest list up to 20 on the evening of Thursday, March 14. This course is a great fit for the mature, curious, foodie! (6th-7th Grade Only)

The Art and Science of Welding: Capture the extraordinary power of an electrical arc to cut, melt, and fuse metals together. Students in this one-week course will spend their mornings at the DIY Cave in Bend learning from experienced welders. During our time at the DIY Cave, each student will learn how to weld and will fabricate their own take-home project. If time allows, we will also attempt a larger, group project that we can install at the school. In addition to learning how to weld, students will learn about the history of welding, different types of welding, and the science of welding, to better understand how the process works. We will also travel to local design and fabrication locations to see how local artists and industry professionals are using welding to make both practical and artistic creations in our community. (Middle School Only)

Native American Rock Art Survey: This trip will involve learning about local rock art (Pictographs and petroglyphs) and the cultures that created these works. Students will develop an understanding of why ancient people made rock art and what the images represent. Students will begin with a tour of the High Desert Museum from a local expert. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday students will be in the field looking at and for rock art sites in remote Lake County. The group will camp at the Summer Lake Hot Springs and day trip in the area in Lake County. (Middle School and Upper School)

The Great American Pastime: In this Spring'em course students will take a multidisciplinary approach to studying The Great American Pastime, baseball. Activities will include, but not be limited to the following:

  • The art of keeping score, unpacking advanced metrics, and statistics.
  • Classic baseball films and documentaries highlighting iconic moments in the history of the game.
  • A virtual tour of the baseball hall of fame in Cooperstown and creation of your own all-time all-star lineup.
  • Fantasy baseball strategies and research. The creation of an exclusive Cascades Academy league, including a live draft.
  • Basic baseball skills; throwing, catching, and hitting. Daily baseball games and activities. Wiffle ball, batting cages, home run derby, etc.
  • Attendance at a live game. Keeping score required.
  • Music and food from a baseball perspective (... buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks!)
  • Research project and presentation on an historically important baseball feat, player, team, rivalry or event (i.e. The Black Sox, the steroids era, Babe Ruth vs. Roger Maris, historic rivalries, the Cubs and the Red Sox winning the world series, the greatest player or team of all-time, iconic ballparks, etc.)
  • Baseball strategy games (Strat-O-Matic Baseball) and organizational skills related to baseball card collecting
  • Pitching grips. How to identify and throw a slider, curve, knuckle ball, etc. (Middle & Upper School)

Pacific Northwest Natural History: A Backcountry Exploration: This course will provide a basic introduction to backpacking. We will spend time both on and off trails learning foundational skills for backcountry safety, navigation, menu planning, and food preparation, and cold-weather camping. Learn about Leave No Trace ethics and natural history, and tap into the rich storytelling traditions associated with the Pacific Northwest's wild places. If weather permits, the course will include a one or two night overnight backpacking expedition. Students will be required to provide and carry their own gear, food, and water for multiple miles. All students will be expected to attend a mandatory orientation prior to the Spring 'em session. (Upper School Only)

Logging History and Woodworking: This one-week elective provides students the opportunity to develop, refine and apply basic carpentry skills. The bulk of this intensive course will focus on designing and building approved wooden products of student choice. Students will meet with a local arborist to select, fell, and buck a tree in the Deschutes National Forest and contribute to the milling process involved in yielding lumber from harvested timber. The class will also explore Oregon's rich timber history including the first incarnation of Bend's The Old Mill District which, at the peak of operations, housed two of the largest sawmills in the world. Students will work independently or in small groups with direct instructor supervision to complete a woodworking or carpentry project. The course is designed to accommodate a variety of skill levels, therefore, prior carpentry experience is not a requirement. (Upper School Only)

- Tim Green, Middle School Head

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