Perhaps a year or more attending a school away from home isn’t an option for you. VVS offers semesters programs that allow you the opportunity to gain new academic skills, experience living in an international community, immerse yourself in outdoor activities that might not be available to you at home, and contribute to and benefit from a different community. Semester students take quite a few things home: new experiences, a larger group of friends from around the world, increased self-knowledge, a renewed sense of self and improved self-confidence.
Sedona Semester is a unique opportunity that involves students in all parts of the Verde Valley School experience – English immersion, Field Trips through the American Southwest, pre-IB courses, biology field work in Oak Creek and sports like soccer, golf, rock climbing, horseback riding and mountain biking, to name a few experiences.
During the semester, we place particular emphasis on experiential education by providing a wide range of learning environments that encourage students to learn and study outside the traditional classroom. Graduates speak of gaining a new-found confidence, and about achieving what were once seemingly impossible goals. Sedona Semester students also point to the close and positive relationships they develop with their fellow community members and teachers. Many say that Field Trips and collaborative projects were occasions where they learned to be leaders. Academic lessons in science, math, history, and English come alive when evidence is found not only in a textbook, but also in red rock canyons, desert floors and mountain peaks.
Verde Valley School’s Sedona Semester combines college-preparatory academics with experiential learning and outdoor activities. Highlights of the program include:
• A varied outdoor experience that includes horseback riding, rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, soccer and golf
• Two-week immersion Field Trips with options including hiking into the Grand Canyon; living on the Navajo and Hopi Native American reservations; studying marine biology on the California coast; following in the footsteps of writers Jack Kerouac and Jack London on a trip through Northern California; backpacking in Utah; service and art focus in Los Angeles; and rock climbing in Southern Arizona
• Living and learning with students from the US and more than 20 other countries
• Advanced arts program that includes painting, drawing, ceramics, photography, welding, theater and music
As leaders in international education and inter-cultural understanding, VVS partners with the Shixi School in Shanghai to bring our experiential approach to learning to their school and their first-year IB students to our school for one semester in Sedona.
While in Sedona study is divided between courses specific to the Shixi diploma program – with separate classes in Mandarin and English – and joining VVS students in other courses. Students get to have a true American experience during their Sedona semester – and then some! Work jobs, recreational and cultural activities, weekend trips that include Grand Canyon hikes, and the chance to attend a professional sporting event in Phoenix, add to this special mix.
Future plans for the partnership include VVS students taking part in Shanghai home-stays, and short-term teacher exchanges. Sharing the teaching methods at VVS and creating an opportunity for our students to immerse themselves in an educational system in another country provide an intercultural exchange that is unique and enriching.
Learn more about the program at Shixi School here.