‘Urban Outdoor Ed’: Eighth Grade in D.C.
November 10, 2022
Among the highlights of the Eighth Grade year at Aspen Country Day School is the fall class trip to Washington, D.C. Both an immersive experience and an inside look at democratic institutions, not a single visit to the nation’s capital has gone by without students returning to Aspen armed with a fresh appreciation for United States history and a better sense of urban life.
This year’s itinerary included a Washington Wizards basketball game, the National Gallery of Art, Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, National Air and Space Museum, Treasury Building, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Supreme Court, the U.S. Capitol, and a bicycle tour of the monuments.
The Washington, D.C. trip is one of the ways Aspen Country Day School takes its mission to prepare students for the journey ahead seriously. The trip is carefully curated to have students devote learning time in advance to the sites they’ll be visiting to better underscore the meaning and experience. Eighth Graders are also tasked with ways to explore a subject, make connections across traditional areas and then use their growing public speaking and presentation skills to demonstrate what they have learned in front of an audience of their peers and teachers. Beginning the summer before Eighth Grade, each student completes a Washington D.C. Speech Proposal, which they then spend months researching, writing and honing before delivering live in front of landmarks (and, often, tourists) in our nation’s capital.
“The kids were so encouraging of each other on this year’s trip, and that is not lost on me,” said Aspen Country Day Head of School Josh Wolman. “One of the reasons that I think they did so well is because they feel supported by their peers and teachers. I also can’t help but think that experience is another step towards their Eighth Grade graduation speeches, where they will have the podium and feel poised and ready.”