Myth or Reality? I've heard that all you do is go on field trips and walk in the woods. Is this true?

posted Aug 22, 2010 1:15 AM by George Marro


While Field Studies are an integral and important part of the program, The Nature Academy is an academically rigorous program. Only those students who complete assignments regularly may participate in field studies. All others must complete missing, incomplete, or unacceptable work at home under parental supervision. If academics are questionable, most students opt to leave the Nature Academy for less stringent programs.


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What do you mean "academically rigorous?" I heard that the Nature Academy was for kids who couldn't make it in the regular program.

posted Aug 22, 2010 1:12 AM by George Marro

The Nature Academy has a science/social studies-based curriculum which is committed to looking at the larger issues of natural/cultural world interactions. It is complimented by an ability placed math program as well as intensive Language Arts and Social Studies programs. Some of the specific expectations include the following.

  • All students must read a minimum of one million words independently to earn an average grade in Language Arts.

  • Students must write frequently, in a variety of genres, for a wide range of audiences. This is true across ALL subjects, not just Language Arts. This pays off! Nature Academy students have enjoyed publication of their writing in several newspapers and magazines and have amassed over $800 in cash for submitting winning essays and poems to various competitions.

  • Traditionally a high % of our 8th grade class will engage in 9th & 10th grade math each year

The Nature Academy is geared toward academically minded, self-motivated student who relishes a challenging, experience-based curriculum. If your child lacks good study habits, this may not be the program for him

The preceding sounds no different from what children may already experience at San Lorenzo Valley Middle School. What makes the Nature Academy different?

posted Aug 22, 2010 1:08 AM by George Marro

First, we are very much like the middle school. In fact, in a practical sense, the Nature Academy functions much like a "school within a school"- that is, a small program within the larger program. Nature Academy students share the same breaks, lunch period, and after school sports programs as those enrolled at SLVMS. For students, it's like attending the same school, but having a different set of teachers than their peers. The major differences are few, but for some parents and students, those differences are mighty. They include:

Field Studies Emphasis: Far beyond anything we can do in the classroom, linking learning to real world experiences is the most powerful tool we have as learners to anchor information. It is this understanding of brain biology which drives our choices at the Nature Academy to explore the world around us. Students in the Nature Academy will benefit from studies in Fall Creek, School Garden projects, Exporatorium, San Jose Tech Museum, Pacific Grove/Cannery Row/Great Tide Pools, & Monterey Bay Aquarium. Teambuilding trips include Pacific Edge Climbing Gym and Beach Cleanup, Ropes Courses, Bowling and River Walks. Overnights have included trips to Big Basin, Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Russian River, Catalina Island, Lake Tahoe, and Yosemite Institute. When learning is linked with actual experience, learning lasts a lifetime.

What about this new BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program I am hearing about?

    Please reference the district information page regarding BYOD

My child loves sports and outdoor activities. Will the Nature Academy meet those needs?

posted Aug 22, 2010 1:01 AM by George Marro   [ updated Aug 22, 2010 1:07 AM ]

All Nature Academy students participate in the regular Physical Education cycle of sports. 

    Additionally we,
  • hike (rain or shine), 
  • kayak, 
  • snorkel, 
  • boat, 
  • go rock-climbing, 
  • wade and swim through rivers, 
  • climb mountains (Half Dome, May 2001,2004) 
  • snowshoe, 
  • cross country ski (Feb 2002)... 
    just to name a few. 

All Nature Academy students should be ready to participate in physically demanding field studies. 

But remember, 
  • academics first
  • field study opportunities second. 
Work, Learn, Inspire.