Returning to the ideals of the ancient Greek Olympians, Westwood trains its students to master their bodies as well as their minds. As well as practicing for specific sports, students learn to develop their Core Athleticism – the speed, agility, and endurance to excel in everything they do both on and off the field of play. Off the beaten path, students will push their own limits in the Adventure Leadership Program for Students (ALPS).
Each year, Westwood students in Grade 6 through Grade 12 participate in an outdoor or urban excursion through ALPS. At Westwood, curriculum recognizes that both the urban and the outdoor world are worthy of exploration, and that expeditions into these vastly different worlds are the perfect way to integrate a student’s sense of fun and adventure with the elements of scholarly inquiry.
Westwood trips provide adventures that are beyond the limits of each student’s experience but within the limits of their abilities. In service to these ideas, the ALPS program offers a broad array of urban and outdoor experiences that:
ALPS by Grade Level
Students begin ALPS curriculum with a trip to Sky Ranch, an educational youth camp in Van, TX. At Sky Ranch they spend three days participating in hands-on learning from orienteering to limnology.
Students rotate excursions between urban and wilderness locations. The urban city trips are historical explorations of our Nation’s founding and development, with trips to Washington D.C., Boston, or Philadelphia. The Middle School wilderness trip takes place over three nights at the Frio River, a spring-fed water source in central Texas, where students receive First Aid certifications, test their limits with a rock climbing challenge course, and enjoy water sports such as kayaking.
Students spend a week studying Texas waterways as they travel to local lakes then follow the Guadalupe River to the Texas Shoreline. This tent camping trip engages students with Texas State Parks, as well as including a day of study at the UT Marine Science Institute.
A trip to New York City combines historical reflections at Ellis Island and the 9/11 Memorial with student theater studies by attending performances and Broadway theater workshops.
Students challenge their physical abilities as they tent camp in Big Bend National Park. Among the distance hikes performed, students summit the second highest peak in Texas, Emory Peak. Students also prepare for this remote scenery by studying astronomy at the McDonald Observatory, an internationally recognized facility owned by the University of Texas.
Through foundation relationships, Westwood Grade 12 students have the opportunity to raft through the Grand Canyon. Only 2% of all US residents get the chance to see the Grand Canyon in this way, and it is valuable to our students as they complete water sampling projects, present research on the area, and further reflect on their upcoming college ambitions.
Optional International Excursions
Westwood students entering High School are given the opportunity to attend an educational international trip during the summer to further engage with other cultures. The Westwood School offers trips to Spain or China. The trip to Spain offers the ability to elect in coursework for humanities college credit, while the trip to China engages students personally with students and families in various provinces.
Learn More about ALPS
To learn more about the recent Westwood adventures, please read Middle School Wilderness & Washington, D.C. Trips, High School Big Bend Trip, and Grade 6 at Sky Ranch. Additional articles are available upon request from [email protected]