SIERRA NEVADA JOURNEYS Classrooms Unleashed Program

Q: How many educators will Sierra Nevada Journeys send to teach a lesson in the classroom?

We will send one primary educator per classroom. There’s no need to combine classes. You may notice, however, that more than one of Sierra Nevada Journeys' staff members enter your classroom for one or more classroom sessions. We work with pre-service teachers and often have staff in training, so at times, more than a single educator could be present to observe or assist with classroom lessons led by the primary educator.  

Q: How much will it cost to do a program with Sierra Nevada Journeys?

Sierra Nevada Journeys is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We cover our costs through fundraising and program fees. Therefore, program fees may fluctuate from season-to-season, and we are able to offer programs on a sliding scale based on income levels of the schools we work with. We believe in charging something for every program; we’ve found this investment from the school/teacher/classroom increases the importance of the program to the school and builds a true collaboration. For more information on current pricing, please contact Sean Hill, our Education Director. 

Q: How do you determine if the students have learned or benefited from the program?

We have pre- and post-assessments designed for most grade levels that students take. We’re constantly analyzing these scores as they provide instant feedback on the relative effectiveness of our programming. Student scores directly influence our program design and teaching strategy.

Q: Is the teacher required to be in the classroom during these lessons?

All of our primary educators in the classroom are licensed or otherwise legally certified to work with your students with or without their classroom teacher present; however, we strongly prefer the teacher to be in the classroom and engage in the lessons. This also allows teachers to maximize the benefits of the program by connecting future classroom activities to Sierra Nevada Journeys lessons.

Q: Is there a minimum or maximum amount of chaperones that can accompany the field trip?

The field trips for our Classrooms Unleashed programs request a minimum of two adults provided by the school (can be a combination of teachers and parents), per 15 children. There is no maximum number of chaperones. 

Q: How does Sierra Nevada Journeys decide where to take the kids on a field trip?

Sierra Nevada Journeys actively partners with land agencies, parks and conservation organizations to identify field sites that are local to our schools and communities, which provide ideal landscapes for the science topics that we focus on in our programs. 

Q: How long are the field trips?

Field study lessons are each 2-3 hours. 

Q: Are your educators credentialed teachers?

All of our classroom educators are credentialed teachers, hold a Nevada or California substitute license, or are student teachers enrolled in a University-based teaching program, on their way to a credential. We also have robust internship and volunteer programs, so field study teachers are a mix of our credentialed teachers, interns, and volunteers. This allows us to provide small group sizes to maximize learning outcomes in the field.

Q: What should students wear on their field trip?

Closed toed-shoes and clothing in layers. Additional sun protection is also suggested such as hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen. 

Q: What should students bring on their field trip?

Backpack, water bottle, lunch and snack, pencil, field notebooks (provided by Sierra Nevada Journeys).

Q: How far in advance should I book a Sierra Nevada Journeys Program?

For fall programs, we begin scheduling in March/April of the previous spring. For spring programs, we begin scheduling in September/October of the previous fall. 

Q: What is your cancellation policy?

Cancellations made at least a month from the program start date are permissible. For programs cancelled within a month prior to the program, an administrative fee of 25 percent will be charged. 

Q: What is my role as a teacher during the program?

We prefer teachers are active participants during the classroom and field lessons – helping to guide discussion, and as a source for behavior management when needed. In addition, we ask teachers to send home waivers, schedule buses, and administer the pre- and post-assessments.

Q: How do you use your assessment data?

Assessment data is used to inform program quality, and directly guides program improvements. 

Q: How can I build on the Sierra Nevada Journeys curriculum?

Through a partnership with Project Learning Tree and the Nevada Division of Forestry, we have designed lesson extensions for teachers to use in the classroom before, during and after our programs. These lessons offer interdisciplinary activities to help teachers use our hands-on science programs to teach math, English language arts, social studies and the arts. When you sign up for a program, we’ll provide you with a link and a password to access these excellent materials.

Q: Where will the kids eat lunch on the field trip?

Students will eat lunch with their hiking groups, usually under the shade of a tree, and/or near a river or stream. 

Q: Who pays for transportation?

Sierra Nevada Journeys cannot provide transportation fees, so this responsibility is with the teacher/classroom/school in most cases.

Q: If students have allergies, how should I notify Sierra Nevada Journeys?

Teachers will be provided with a Student Grouping Form for the field program. This form provides a place to indicate allergies, injuries or medical conditions for each student. Sierra Nevada Journeys field instructors all have First Aid Kits and are CPR/Basic First Aid trained.

Q: If students have behavioral problems or shouldn't be grouped with other students, how can I notify Sierra Nevada Journeys?

Teachers will have the opportunity to design each field group, based on their knowledge of their students, using the Student Grouping Forms we provide.