Scott Carey, Principal of Oilfields School, and Quest teacher Adam Argento provided School Trustees with an update on this award-winning Grade 10-12 outdoor adventure learning program introduced at the school six years ago. Scott credited then Oilfields’ vice-principal Cynthia Glaicar (now principal at Westmount School) with having the dream of a program that would enable students to achieve learning outcomes through a year-long outdoor education program.
Quest combines traditional classroom instruction with outdoor experiential learning through cross-curricular projects and field studies. The program also features small class sizes, peer mentoring in a multi-grade learning environment, and strong teacher relationships. In addition to Adam Argento (who provides CTS and Outdoor Ed. instruction), the Quest teaching team includes Karen Larter (Math and Sciences) and Chase Sillito (English and Social Studies), who work collaboratively to instruct and support students in their learning.
Structured as a three-year program for approximately 30+ students per year, Quest features a yearly environmental education theme through which students explore core curricular outcomes for the entire year: 2015-16: Biodiversity (Biology focus); 2016-17: Energy (Physics focus); 2017-18 Water (Chemistry focus). For example, this year Quest students have been participating in the Fish in Schools program, a stewardship project to contribute to the ecosystem health in local watersheds. Students have raised 60 rainbow trout from eggs that were released in Champion Lakes west of Millarville.
Students generally enter the program at the grade 10 level, and must undergo an application / interview process to gauge their interest level, as the program requires a strong commitment to outdoor education and community involvement.
Students complete all courses required for high school graduation and participate in regular outdoor field studies to meet these requirements through excursions – such as hiking, overnight backpacking, cross-country skiing, wilderness navigation, emergency response and back-country cooking – focusing on academics, outdoor skills, and team development. Collaboration with experts – such as wildlife biologist and retired superintendent of Banff National Park Kevin Van Tigham, Calgary Zoo conservation research specialist Tatiana Hayek, and Swedish wildlife veterinarian Dr. Asa Fahlman – provide students with real-world understanding and insight into potential careers.
For more information about Quest, contact Oilfields School at 403-938-4973 or visit http://oilfields.fsd38.ab.ca/our-school/quest/.