Ruch Outdoor Community School (ROCS), a K-8 public school in the Medford School District, is continuing and expanding a multifaceted partnership with the Southern Oregon University Environmental Education (SOU EE) graduate program. ROCS’s pedagogical approach of place-based education aligns well with the rich field-based opportunities offered by the SOU EE graduate program. This school year, ROCS is inviting Jackson County Parks and the Applegate Partnership & Watershed Council to create the Southern Oregon Field School Collaborative. By adding these agencies to the existing partnership, the Collaborative will further advance and widen both short-term and long-term goals leveraging unique characteristics of our rural bioregion and improving school connectedness to the surrounding community.
There are a number of interested projects moving forward.
First, Cantrall Buckley Park will serve as host site for day and residential programs offered through the Fall in the Field capstone project by the SOU EE graduate program. One shared vision of the collaborative is to build permanent yurts at the park. This will expand the usability for park patrons, as well as summer youth camps and ad hoc education programs for students in southern Oregon. Educational programs will have access to riparian areas, forests, and hiking trails. Lessons will align with Next Generation Science Standards and fulfill Oregon Department of Education requirements relating to outdoor school.
Second, ROCS will sponsor SOU EE graduate students as they complete practicum credits in the winter and spring terms. Duties may include coordinating outreach with community organizations and assisting teachers with curriculum that focuses on place-based education.
Finally, ROCS recently completed the participant application for the Adopt A Park program at Cantrall Buckley Park. K-12 students in the Medford School District will participate in hands-on projects along the riparian zones with the Applegate Partnership & Watershed Council.
Schools can still register here for outdoor school day programs in the Applegate Valley, which will expand under the Southern Oregon Field School Collaborative as we enter the 2022-23 school year.