Spring Term: Seminars in deep learning

When final exams are finished in May, Darrow students say goodbye to the regular class schedule and say hello to the Spring Term Experience, a distinctive, weeklong program that reinforces the School’s mission of service, sustainability, and study.

Spring Term takes students out of the classroom and directly into their surrounding communities and environment, where they engage in exciting, intensive, and immersive learning adventures. Groups might choose to explore sustainability and sense of place in a historic local neighborhood; witness governmental activism’s effect on legislation in the state capital; build outdoor leadership skills on the trails of the Adirondacks, or expand their horizons with excursions to cities, states, and nations outside our borders.

Some Spring Term students remain on campus during their experience, taking occasional road trips and enjoying presentations by visiting experts. For instance, a recent group worked with a guest filmmaker to learn film craft and make their own movie. Another explored the program From Farm to Fork by visiting nearby organic farms and the kitchens of local chefs.

All Spring Term experiences are precisely planned and developed to incorporate aspects of active curriculum and design thinking. Details are developed by specific faculty teams and incorporate student input.

The fundamental goals of Spring Term are to provide students with opportunities to:
•  Experience the invaluable benefits of travel
•  Engage in service learning and design-thinking challenges
•  Become skillful, lifelong learners in the areas of research and inquiry

With opportunities for cultural immersion, sustainability education, apprenticeships and service, Spring Term is experiential learning at its optimum.

Spring Term Experiences

9th Grade: Take a Stand
How do we come to know and serve our community? How do we take a stand for sustainability and justice? Ninth-grade students will come together during Spring Term to wrestle with these questions. Together, we will map and remove invasive species on campus, design and build art (for the dining hall) that promotes sustainability, and explore our Shaker history. Once we have developed our sense of place here on campus, we will expand our geographic understanding of community through a food justice overnight at Soul Fire Farm, service learning in Pittsfield, and volunteering at Mass Gathering. Of course, fun outings to the lake, ice cream, and s'mores will be splashed throughout our week. We will end by reflecting on our experience and preparing a presentation to share with the Darrow community.

10th Grade: Finding and Using Our Voices to Effect Change
How can we use our voices to change the world? Tenth-grade students will explore self expression through art, music, theater, communication practices, storytelling, and writing. They will use their voices to address ways in which they would like to change the world and express their ideas. Attendance at area performances and a visit to Mass MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) will be incorporated into the experience. Students will also participate in workshops with professional artists and activists. They will reflect individually on their experiences daily and, in groups, create artifacts of their learning to share and reflect with the wider Darrow community.

11th Grade: Leadership Through Outdoor Adventure
Juniors will depart from Darrow to take part in outdoor adventure expeditions in the Adirondack Park. Each expedition will feature different activities in different locales for the purpose of developing leadership skills and group cohesion among the emerging student leaders of Darrow: those who will be seniors in a few short months. The proposed expeditions this academic year are:
Service project with local NGO or DEC
At the conclusion of each expedition, the groups will rendezvous as a full class in one location for a final night of sharing, celebrating, and reflecting on the week’s adventures and lessons.

12th Grade: Border Crossings
How do students connect to and learn from cross-cultural experience? What are the skills that help us learn from the challenges of cross-cultural experiences? How do we experience the phenomenon of globalization through travel? The theme for the 12th grade Spring Term experience is “Crossing Borders,” and participants will travel to Montreal, Canada, to explore what crossing borders means in literal and figurative terms. Students will have guidance and independence in learning what different cultures are like. We will learn how to budget our finances, how to communicate, and how to experience life in a different country. The students will explore the Montreal Biodome, as well as many other museums and cultural events with our three-day pass. A passport is required for U.S. citizens, and a visa will be needed for non-U.S. citizens.

12th grade participants please note the following important information:

Visas for International Travel
Please note: Depending on your citizenship, you may need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visa to travel to Canada. If you do not have the proper documents, including an eTA or visa, you may be delayed or denied entry. It is the responsibility of the student and the student’s family to ensure the correct visa for travel is secured prior to Spring Term week. All visas should be obtained well in advance of travel.

Information Regarding Financial Aid
To calculate what you will be billed for your child's Spring Term trip, multiply the cost listed on this brochure by the percentage of financial aid you receive. If you are unsure of your financial aid award please refer to your contract for this year or contact the Business Office.

Schedule for on-campus experiences (subject to change):
 Monday - Friday
8:00 - 8:45 am
8:50 - 12:00 pm
 Meet with Spring Term group
12:00 am - 1:00 pm
1:00 - 4:00 pm
 Meet with Spring Term group
4:00 pm
 Day students may depart
   Saturday - Sunday
10:30 am
12:00 - 4:00 pm
 Meet with Spring Term group
4:00 pm
 Day students may depart


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