Going to school at Watershed is an adventure. Our students go new places, connect with friends, and feel a sense of wonder as they explore the world.

orientation and wilderness

High school students begin the year with a nine-day backcountry trip, known as Wilderness, with their advisors and members of their homeroom. They learn valuable outdoor skills and take turns leading the group for the day. They also experience a 24-hour solo that develops their character and capacity for reflection. 

Middle school students begin with a four day camping trip, known as Orientation, that offers an opportunity to connect with advisors and the middle school as a whole. 

They return tired - but also more confident, closer to their classmates and teachers, and with a common understanding of what it means to be a person of character. Orientation and Wilderness offers an opportunity to learn about grit, empathy, optimism, and the ability to collaborate.

outdoor opportunities during the year

    9th and 10th grade students in an Expedition course on the American West reflect on their field work in Moab.


9th and 10th grade students in an Expedition course on the American West reflect on their field work in Moab.

A Watershed education gets students into the real world. As part of their studies of American history, the 9th and 10th grade has travelled to Moab to study conflicting forces in the history of the American West. As part of a study of water, the middle school has camped and rafted along the Colorado River.

You don't have to be an outdoorsy kid to come to Watershed - but all Watershed students experience the sense of adventure and wonder that comes from experiencing the outdoors.

safety and risk management

At Watershed School we encourage our students to lean into risk and take chances. However, we are fully committed to safety and ensuring that risk is managed appropriately. It is a top priority for us. We are proud of our excellent safety record and continuously review and refine our safety policies to maintain that record. While it is important to recognize that there are real risks associated with participating in outdoor activities and field work, each student is expected to play a role in their own safety by adhering to the rules, policies, and procedures set up by our educators and staff members.

Our risk management efforts include safety reviews of our programs, stringent hiring requirements and annual instructor evaluations, the development of comprehensive program plans and emergency response plans, and the requirement that our staff be certified in Wilderness Medicine. Even with these measures, risk of serious injury cannot be eliminated. While we cannot completely eliminate these risks, our focus on risk management mitigates risk and allows participants to face appropriately challenges while traveling into remote and urban areas, and meeting success in the pursuit of adventure and wonder.