Though you may tire of hearing us say it, Dalat truly believes that we exist to provide our students with an “education for life.” This means challenging academics that will prepare those headed to university with the skills needed to be successful. However, “education for life” means so much more than that. In fact, we believe that if all we do is prepare students for university, we are failing our mission.
For that reason, you will see a heavy emphasis on extra and co-curricular activities. So many life skills are developed through the fine arts, clubs, sports, community service, and leadership opportunities, and so Dalat students are strongly encouraged to “get involved.”
Over the last 18 months, the high school administration and teachers have been researching and discussing the idea of integrating experiential learning trips into the curriculum. Often referred to as “classroom without walls” or “week without walls” trips, their purpose is to get students out of the normal school environment and seek to teach them through experiences outside of school.
Earlier this semester, Dalat made the decision to move forward with developing experiential learning trips in the high school division. To do that, we have hired an alumnus of Dalat who has over 6 years of experience developing, running, hosting, and leading experiential learning trips for students. Andrew McClary graduated from Dalat and will be joining us next year to develop our program.
An important decision has already been made about these trips in that Dalat wants these trips to be designed to not only impact the students, but that students are given the opportunity to impact their world. For that reason, we will be calling these trips “Impact Trips.” Next year we will begin to pilot the program and offer optional trips to interested students. Throughout the year, we will be educating our community about this new program and look to implement the program in full starting in 2018.
It is an exciting change for Dalat as we continue looking at ways to improve the educational experience for our students. Next week I will introduce the new 5 year strategic plan that was developed this year and affirmed by the school board this week.