A “School Without Walls” Helps Students Win Marathon Relays, Explore Different Cultural Experiences

Last August, the Zombie Swim Team from Sea Change Preparatory School set their third world record in ocean swimming with a 17-hour, 27-mile open-water marathon relay just off the California coast. Now they’re training and planning for a fourth record—a 34-nautical-mile relay between the Italian isles of Ischia and Capri. It’s part of the school’s annual global trip experience, so students will also explore historic places such as the ancient ruins of Pompeii, the Colosseum, Vatican City museums, and St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Swim Team program aligns perfectly with the school’s educational philosophy, says Head of School Cheryl Allcock. “It’s important to provide students with different cultural experiences. We don’t just teach inside the classroom—we learn about history first hand.” Sea Change is a micro school with seven students in 2017-18, and everyone participates. The school hopes to expand to 20 students by 2019.

The annual trips are planned and organized by one student, who manages the budget, flights and hotel reservations, ground transportation, and meals. With assistance from staff members, a potential list is created based on studies in history and books students are reading. “We go through the recommendations and show how the logistics and budget will work with what they’re trying to accomplish,” says Ms. Allcock.

Senior Faith Irvine values these global experiences. “They’ve helped me gain life skills, like going through an international airport, understanding new customs and food, how to budget your money, the currency exchange, and what the U.S. dollar provides us in another country. In a school without walls, you get to see politics in real time.”

Does your school do something similar?

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