Semester 19 – Learning, Growing, Leading

Alzar School | 14.09.21

Alzar School is in full swing as students head into their fourth week of Semester 19. Over the past few weekends, students have been engaging in specific Skill Clinics to prepare themselves for their upcoming Idaho expeditions. Wilderness First Aid (WFA), Kayak Clinics, and Swiftwater Awareness (SWA) are each designed to provide students with a shared skill set of tools to navigate the river and trails throughout their semester. During the week, academic classes have wasted no time diving into content. Both in and outside of the classroom, students stepped up as leaders in various ways. 

In WFA class, students learn basic first aid in the context of a wilderness setting. Along with classroom time, students get hands-on practice in simulated scenarios. They assess incident scenes, examine their “patient”, determine and document appropriate treatments. In a leadership moment, Kelsey paid close attention and encouraged her peers to focus on learning new skills that could help keep everyone healthy and happy in the field. 

Students observe how to clean a wound during WFA class.

In the Kayak Clinic, students spend extended time in hard shell kayaks, learning technical skills of how to maneuver and gaining comfort with this form of river craft.  Annie inspired others by offering to go first in roll practice and helped her peers empty their boats after attempts. Ellis jumped in to help instruct rolling and kept people excited through games and checking in on his peers. Ansel and Mills practiced group leadership by showing up prepared and urging their groups to get a jump start on group tasks. 

Students practice kayak skills on the river.

In the SWA Clinic, students experience a variety of river crafts and begin to learn how to read and navigate the river. Ryder was a constant source of encouragement cheering on his peers as they jumped into moving water, floating rapids and flipping boats. Ellery pushed through her initial fears and exhibited technical soundness in an inflatable kayak. Addie and Noa also challenged themselves by swimming a section of whitewater they were initially nervous about and Citrus showed amazing progression swimming rapids. Throughout all of the Skill Clinics, students are embracing challenges, stepping out of their comfort zones and gaining valuable skills that will help them excel and practice leadership on their upcoming expeditions. 

Students practice swimming through rapids during SWA.

In the classroom, teachers are engaging students in all types of learning. Math teacher, Gillian Wilcox, has her precalculus classes up and moving as they demonstrate functions through yoga moves. This technique engages students through kinesthetics and, in later lessons, will be used to help students understand how parent functions can be moved, stretched, compressed, and reflected. Learning through movement and hands-on activity is a common technique amongst teachers at Alzar School.

Yoga poses to represent math functions.
Which math function does this yoga pose represent?

In the Capstone Leadership Class, teacher Hallie Holland hooks her class in by posing this question, ‘If you had a boombox following you around for the rest of your life, what song would be playing in the background?’. Students excitedly answer with a wide array of music selections — Harry Styles, Kanye West, Semisonic, Neil Young, Ice Cube and The Killers. Semester 19 students now have an anthem playlist! AP Spanish teacher, Mike Perez, is pushing higher order thinking by having students present Spanish country current events. He also is challenging them to access their Funds of Knowledge with conversational prompts about their families. In one such prompt, Cleo, Noa, Oliver, Lily K. and Purple all recounted stories in Spanish about how their parents met. Teachers at Alzar School are meeting the learning needs of their students through a variety of engaging activities and lessons.

Alicia and Avery collaborating in leadership class.

These clinics and classroom moments are representative of learning that happens everyday at Alzar School. Throughout the semester, students are actively engaged and empowered to be life-long learners and leaders. We are thrilled to see Semester 19 students abuzz with continued excitement and willingness to challenge themselves on the river, along the trail and in the classroom.