A TRIAD of Learning at Providence School

Upper School Students Take Advantage of Two-Week Intensive Program

A TRIAD of Learning at Providence School

Upper School Students Take Advantage of Two-Week Intensive Program

As one option of the TRIAD program, Providence students learn wilderness skills while on
extended backpacking trips. | Credit: Courtesy

For years, Providence School’s popular “Beyond the Classroom” program has connected students of all grade levels (preschool-12) to tours, retreats, and adventures that blend academics with real-world experience, from historical trips through California and Washington, D.C., to gardening and whitewater rafting.

This year, for its 9th to 12th graders, Providence added TRIAD (Travel, Research, Investigate, Apprentice, Discover), a two-week intensive study program that encourages students to practice their passions in-depth and to home in on their interests and aptitudes.

“It’s an idea we’ve been batting around for about four years,” said Rod Meadth, principal of the middle and upper schools. “Indirectly because of the pandemic, we realized how quickly we can pivot. And we were in the mood to change things up, to come out of 2020 with some initiative.”

“Providence School rests solidly upon the creativity and enthusiasm of our teachers and students,” he added. “We learned a lot during COVID about how resourceful and adaptable our teachers and students are. As an independent school, we have broad freedom to craft programs and classes that we believe are worth pursuing ​— ​not because any external entity requires it of us. TRIAD gives us a chance to engage students and showcase the talent of our community in unexpected ways.”

To that end, TRIAD unfolds for two weeks in May, with three options. The first option has students tackling a subject in a college-level format, with two and a half hours of focused study each morning, followed by another session of equal length in the afternoon.

The second option focuses on outdoor adventure, covering, for example, a full week of planning, training, bike maintenance, and camping skills, followed by another week of hiking and biking in Zion, Arches, and Bryce Canyon national parks. Along the way, the students will be reading about nature and creation in poetry and ​— ​because Providence is a Christian school ​— ​scripture.

“It’s the experiences that stick with the students,” said Scott Mitchell, the outdoor education director. “The honest campfire conversations, the moment they overcome a long-held fear to the cheer of their classmates, and unplugging from the world and taking in the sights, smells, and feelings all help bring fullness to their educational experience.”

The third option combines the college-level study format with an internship, during which students follow a course of study in the morning before signing in for an afternoon interning with an organization in the community.

In addition to hiking and biking, the TRIAD course offerings run a range of interests, from photography, moviemaking, printmaking, and cooking to sketch comedy, theatrical costuming, rocket building, and mock trial, among other options, all of them taught by Providence teachers.

“We are very consciously showcasing our teachers,” Meadth said. “They are all such interesting people with so much to offer. TRIAD really leans on their creativity.”

Preschool and Lower School (PS-6): 3225 Calle Pinon; (805) 962-3091; Middle and Upper Schools (7-12): 630 E. Canon Perdido St.;(805) 962-4400; providencesb.org


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