Field Schools

Why field schools?

One of the core components of the Performance Learning Program’s instructional triad is learning beyond the school. We believe strongly that students make deeper cognitive connections when learning is experiential, and rooted in a context that extends beyond the classroom.

For this reason, PLP offers travel opportunities that are unique and tightly integrated with student inquiry and learning objectives. Our goal is to provide field school learning experiences that would otherwise not be available to students, provide opportunities for Performance Learners to make unique real-world connections, and connect classroom learning in relevant and meaningful ways with the world around us.

Field Schools for 2016/2017

For the 2016/2017 school year, we are planning unique learning experiences for each grade that will advance and support classroom learning. PLP field schools are not packaged tours picked from a travel company catalog. Instead, they are tailored to the learning needs of each class.

PLP 8 Navig8:

OREGON COAST, October 22-29, 2016

We are excited to announce that Navig8 will be retuning to the beautiful Oregon Coast for our 2016/2017 field school.

We have an exciting program planned that includes working with Oregon State University researchers at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, special access to the world famous Oregon Coast Aquarium, and time spent exploring the estuaries and near endless beaches of the spectacular coast.


In addition to a rich and deep learning experience, the Navig8 field school has also proved to play an important role in forging a cohesive learning unit.


SEATTLE, November 23-25, 2016

The Seattle field school is organized around the idea of exploring the work of the “Crazy Ones”, people with ideas and actions that challenged mainstream thought, and, as a result, changed the world. Students will build on skills they began developing in Grade 8, working in the field to identify and tell stories. Students will be able to make connections directly with adults that are able to interpret the legacy of people such as Bill Gates, Dale Chihuly, Paul Allen, and the Wright Brothers. This is also the trip that brings truth to the FLIGHT name: students will experience the sensation of skydiving at the iFLY Indoor Skydiving wind tunnel.

FLORIDA, February 3-12, 2017

The Florida field school offers students the chance to become immersed in the world of imagination and to literally stand in the footsteps of history. Building on extensive work done prior to the trip, student’s will explore the physical manifestation of imagination by spending time in Orlando’s theme parks. Deploying a critical eye, students will complete project work connected to our Fantasy unit. Disney parks are also the setting for two intensive learning workshops we have planned: Introduction to Global Citizenship taught in the World Showcase at EPCOT and Managing Your Personal Brand set among the stories and boulevards of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. And yes, there will also be time to have a little fun riding the rides!

Space SuitBeyond Orlando, we have organized a truly memorable experience at the Kennedy Space Center. Students will undertake astronaut training, working as a team on a mock space mission in a life-sized replica of a space shuttle and get to train on a shuttle landing simulator similar to the ones used by NASA astronauts. In addition to touring one-of-a-kind exhibits such as the Saturn V rocket hall and Space Shuttle Atlantis, students will participate in special access tours that will take them to where history happened, the launch pads and control centers of the American space program.

Finally, we take a break from the all concrete and artificial artifice by connecting with the manatees and gators at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

PLP 11 High Performance Cohort:


This field school comes early in the school year and sets up our year-long inquiry of the Atomic Age and the simmering tension between the superpowers during the Cold War. Students will have the unusual opportunity to visit a working nuclear reactor at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and learn firsthand the basics of nuclear science. After basking in the radioactive glow of Reed’s reactor, students will travel through the spectacular Columbia River Gorge to Hanford, Washington. Established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project, the site is home to the B Reactor, the first full-scale plutonium production reactor in the world. The facility is now part of the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park, part of the National Park Service. Students will tour the B Reactor, interview retired reactor operators that worked on the site when it was classified top secret, and complete project work onsite.


Mushroom CloudThis field school to the American Southwest offers students access to history that most people will never have the opportunity to experience.

This trip is organized around a visit to the Nevada Test Site, historical home of 102 aboveground atomic tests during the 1950s and location of more than 828 underground tests performed through 1992. The daylong tour offers students unparalleled access to ground zero of the Cold War.

While the Nevada Test Site will most likely be the highlight of the trip, the field school actually beings in Tucson, Arizona, home of the Titan Missile Museum, a decommissioned Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile silo that has been preserved just as it was in launch-ready condition during the Cold War. Now a National Historic Landmark, students will enter a virtual time machine, and talk directly with retired air force officers that were tasked with pushing the launch button if ordered.

Las Vegas is also home to two outstanding museums that offer rich resources for student research and project work: the National Atomic Testing Museum (a Smithsonian affiliate) and The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement (aka The Mob Museum). Both offer rich and engaging experience that have been very popular with students we have taken in the past.

Finally, we take a break from the all the doom and gloom of doomsday and get outside the city to visit Hoover Dam and the Valley of Fire.