2017 – 2018 SOP Annual Report

IslandWood > School Overnight Program > 2017 – 2018 SOP Annual Report


2017-18 School Year

Those of you who have attended our program know that we solicit your feedback in many ways throughout the year. But we have never formally shared back what we hear from you and how we are using that input. In order to increase transparency and to deepen relationships with our school communities, we are now closing that feedback loop with our School Overnight Program (SOP) Annual Report.


If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. Thank you for your support of IslandWood, and we look forward to working together again this year!



The School Overnight Program Team


  • 4430 4th-6th graders came to SOP this year…
  • …with the support of 620 Teachers and Chaperones from 90 Schools across the Puget Sound.
  • Of these students, 54% were from schools below 25% FRL18% of total students were from schools between 26%-49% FRL; and 28% of total students were from schools above 50% FRL. We record these numbers as part of our commitment to provide equitable access for students across the socio-economic spectrum.
  • We provided $286,230 in scholarships to support equitable financial access to SOP.
  • To help prepare and excite your students and families, we provided 78 student and 67 parent orientations. 
  • In March, we hosted our annual Community Engagement Forum for school representatives and leaders from 6 schools across the Puget Sound.

(N = number of participants or returned surveys)

  • Teacher debrief lunch: open dialogue with Lead Teachers (as available) on Wednesdays during 4 day SOP weeks; determines the effectiveness of specific goals towards culturally responsive teaching strategies. N = 77
  • Teacher and chaperone surveys: N = 416
  • Immediate-post survey: sent to all teachers and chaperones on the Friday after SOP; determines whether SOP objectives were achieved in the field.
  • 3-months out survey: sent three months after the SOP experience to all teachers who come in fall and winter quarters; determines “stickiness” of SOP objectives.
  • Annual Community Engagement Forums: full-day working retreats for specific teachers, grown-up SOP alumni, past graduate instructors, community representatives (parents, leaders, etc.), and key IslandWood staff and board; informs/guides SOP towards culturally responsive teaching and equitable practices.  Total participant N over 3 Forums = 31

When surveyed immediately after SOP, 89% of teachers reported that most or all students met the SOP objectives. But even more compelling is the “stickiness” of the impact on students. From surveys that go out 3-5 months following SOP, teachers report:

  • 100% of teachers report positively that the impacts of SOP continue when back in the classroom.
  • 75% of teachers report high to very high continued student understanding of and engagement with science
  • 73% of teachers report high to very high student teamwork and collaboration
  • 79%of teachers report high to very high students embracing safe adventures
  • 76% of teachers report high to very high students practicing pro-environmental behaviors

In addition to impacting the students, teachers let us know that we are also impacting how they teach. During SOP, teachers are allowed the time and space to step back and watch as another trained educator facilitates the learning. This brings new understandings for teachers about how their students learn in different contexts. Our teachers have told us that as a result of their participation in SOP, they have added the following skills/subjects into their teaching:

  • 52% of teachers report integrating Stewardship Projects
  • 85% report integrating Science Investigations
  • 82% report integrating Outdoor Learning
  • 58% report integrating Pro-environmental Behaviors


Read one teacher’s story about IslandWood’s impact on herself and her classroom.


You told us that this has been a great way to get your kids to practice collaborative problem solving with new students from different backgrounds, something that prepares them for middle school (and life in general). Here’s a great video from two SOP teachers that really pushed our work to embed Engaging Across Boundaries more deeply in our curriculum.

You told us that you appreciated our instructors’ patience and commitment to engage each student, their modeling of positive leadership qualities, such as active listening, and their ability to elicit all student voices in their field groups.

You told us that you appreciated how much support you felt from the staff before, during, and after your experience on the island, from registration support to problem-solving for logistics and behavior management to providing curriculum for post-experiences. Specifically, you are loving the materials we provide to help you recruit families from non-dominant populations! Check out the Plan Your Visit section of our webpage for translated forms, chaperone videos, and more.

You loudly and consistently voice appreciation for the structures and practices we provide behind the scenes for all students to feel welcome and confident to learn, including but not limited to: providing tuition scholarships, accommodating dietary needs, offering a gear library, matching instructors’ experience with student needs, and more!


You appreciated our work to be responsive to students’ needs, and you recommended we continue this work and focus specifically on training our instructors on strategies to better engage students with ADHD and Autism.


How we’re growing:
We hear you. Understanding how to best engage with students on the ADHD and Autism spectrum is critical for all educators, not just SPED teachers.  So, this year, staff will develop and roll-out a professional development session for instructors to help support engagement in SOP of students are on the spectrums for ADHD and Autism. We will also provide written strategies for mentors to use with instructors throughout the year to best monitor teaching development.  Timeline: PD session in November; written strategies ready by October.


How you can help us do this better: 
As you engage with our instructors, please remember that our graduate program is the first year of a Master’s in General Education. Unless they have worked previously in the SPED field, our instructors will not have the same knowledge and resources as SPED-experienced teachers in your schools.  For that reason, we would greatly benefit from knowing the strategies you use to engage these students in your classroom, so please fill out and send in as early as possible the Teacher Pre-trip Questionnaire.

As the demographics of the Puget Sound shift, students who are experiencing homelessness is on the rise. In addition, many students are experiencing traumatic life challenges, from food insecurity to neglect and abuse. You recommended that we train our instructors on how to engage students experiencing these challenges.


How we’re growing:
We agree.  This is extremely important for all educators.  So this year staff and instructors will receive a training on Adverse Childhood Experiences from Kitsap Strong.  Timeline: November, as part of Curriculum and Instruction course.


How you can help us do this better: 

We would greatly benefit from knowing the strategies you use to engage these students in your classroom, so please fill out and send in as early as possible the Teacher Pre-trip Questionnaire.

You’ve shared that you would like more ELL strategies embedded into the materials we use in the field.


How we’re growing:
Yes! We’ve updated the SOP student journal to include more sentence stems, more picture guides, and we now have a fully-translated Spanish journal.   Timeline: already available!


How you can help us do this better: 
Tell us ahead of time if you need a Spanish student journal. We can have them printed off when your students come.


Because we serve so many communities, and because we have limited translation resources, we are unable to provide specific language translations beyond what our staff is capable of translating. So, if you need a different language translation, please download the journal to use with your school’s translation resources. Also, PLEASE SHARE ANY TRANSLATED JOURNALS WITH US! We will then be able to share them with other teachers who may not have access to these resources.

You recognize and approve of the work we’ve done to facilitate students’ interpersonal skill- building in their field groups, but you recommend that we better support chaperones to facilitate the same type of engagement in the Dining Hall for mixed school tables.


How we’re growing:
Food is such a great place to intersect, so let’s leverage this opportunity and support the folks on the ground. We have gathered great ideas from you all this year. We have convened a small staff team to go through these ideas and more and adopt strategies as appropriate to our resources, structures, and systems. Stay tuned for specifics! Timeline: roll out over the year new strategies and resources to support our chaperones in the Dining Hall, especially those for whom English is not their first language.


How you can help us do this better: 
Keep working to assign tables to chaperones based on the students’ and chaperones’ needs/abilities.

This past year, Super grouping (or bringing together two field groups for an intentional experience to learn how to learn with others) was a huge hit, but it was also up to the instructor to opt-in. You recommended that this was more consistent and regular for the schools.


How we’re growing:
We heard you and we love it, too! So, we are building expectations around Super grouping more concretely into our programs. Specifically, you will see more collaboration between groups for team building and investigations in winter and spring quarters. As usual, we will leave room for instructors to determine best strategies for their students and teachers. Timeline: build into instructor training and modeling over fall, train mentors to support in fall, increase expectations in winter, fully supported by spring.


How you can help us do this better: 
Please share the importance of Engaging Across Boundaries with your chaperones and parents. We are leveraging a major asset of SOP by bringing students together who may never get the chance to talk to each other, be it for different cliques, classrooms, neighborhoods, or more. You can help by letting your chaperones know how this type of experience can enhance the development of critical life skills, like respectful dialogue, collaboration, and empathy.

You work hard to bring your kids and we want to support you in that work! You love the tools we already provide to support your recruitment and would like us to continue. Based on the data you provided, we see that the highest group attrition is for students from Muslim and Spanish-speaking families.


How we’re growing:
This year, we will expand our existing materials to include two new recruitment “packs” that encompass culturally specific digital materials for you to share with your families:


Spanish pack: Working with parents from Spanish-speaking homes, we will provide translated materials that speak directly to IslandWood’s commitment to culturally responsive teaching and the safety of all our students.


Muslim pack: In addition to the materials above, we are working with our Muslim Community Liaison (see bios below) to develop materials that connect the Koran’s emphasis on stewardship to the learning objectives in SOP.


Timeline: Develop pieces each quarter, so please check your emails and the Plan Your Visit section of our web page for more.


How you can help us do this better: 

First, please use these materials and provide feedback! We don’t want these to be digital dust-collectors and we definitely need your input to improve them over time.


Second, we are unable to provide specific language translations beyond what our staff is capable of translating. So, as you translate your documents, specifically those that are informational for parents (not ones that solicit information from them as we will be unable to read them on our end), please share them with us. Thank you!

  • Increased emphasis on evaluation: Over the years, we have evolved our curriculum to better support the work you’re doing in the classroom to develop necessary life skills in your students for problem-solving, respectful dialogue, compassion and empathy, and critical and systems thinking.  This year, Island Wood is furthering our work by partnering with the University of Washington College of Education School Psychology Department to run a pilot evaluation project on the impact of SOP on students’ development of life skills. We will be working with select schools and classrooms across the Puget Sound to run pre- and post-SOP evaluations, as well as during SOP assessments. The UW team, under the guidance of Dr. Janine Jones, will analyze the data and provide this synthesis at the end of this school year to further inform our evolution. Stay tuned for more information, coming in July 2019!
  • Island Wood’s work on Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI): We know that good education can’t happen in a vacuum, so we are excited to share that under the leadership of our new CEO, Megan Karch, the Island Wood Leadership Team will spend this year developing a JEDI plan following the framework, From Awake, To Woke, To Work. This plan will determine Island Wood’s next steps to becoming a more inclusive, culturally responsive, and relevant organization. Stay tuned for more information as the year progresses, and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions to learn more!
  • Staffing changes: In addition to a new CEO, the SOP team is growing and changing! Meet all the folks, old and new, who will be joining you on your SOP journey this year!

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