Why Experiential Learning is a Cornerstone of our Program

"We got to cook dinner with, and in the home of a local South African and listen to stories about the town, culture, and political climate. It definitely opened my eyes and caused me to look at the world with a new lens. This experience will stay with me forever."  - SHS Student reflecting on the South Africa trip

Whether it’s recording sea turtle behavior for an ecology trip in Central America, listening to Civil Rights leaders recall their marches through the South, recording a professionally produced song at Live Oak Studio (Destiny’s Child produced a track here), or a walk through Ils Alley to talk with Sirron Norris about his mural art project, experiential learning reinforces the concepts and lessons taught in the classroom while creating profound and visceral educational experiences.

Through culture, local visionaries, history, art, food, and the environment, students can connect with class content in ways that resonate on a deeper level, broadening perspectives and fostering personal discovery and growth.

"One of my favorite aspects of experiential learning is that by doing, interacting, and participating in a “real world” application of their studies, students are able to purposefully engage in the world around them." - Brian Benson, SHS Spanish Teacher.

At Sterne, we carefully curate our experiential trips/activities to accommodate the diverse learning preferences and interests of our amazing student community. Experiential learning fosters a level of comprehension that can not always be achieved in the classroom setting alone, and is as imperative to our program as Assistive Technology, reading intervention, 1:1 college counseling (SHS), dances, clubs, P.E., and so on and so on.  

Experiential Week
While experiential learning is woven through the academic year, Sterne dedicates a week each spring to focus on this cornerstone of our program, “Experiential Week.”


Sterne High School Experiential Week features an international trip or national, multi-day overnight Bay Area/California-based options.  This year, Spring 2020, the SHS international trip will immerse students in the language and culture of Costa Rica while participating in activities that focus on service learning and environmental issues unique to this Central American country. Stay tuned for an SHS Experiential Week brochure that lists all our trips, including full details of the Costa Rica experience.
Costa Rica
Trip Leader: Brian Benson, bbenson@sterneschool.org
In advance of the upcoming brochure, you can join our Costa Rica interest list.

I want to learn more about the Costa Rica program


Sterne Upper Elementary & Middle School Experiential Week 2020 offers a trip to Washington D.C. (for 7th and 8th grade) alongside 2-3 local Bay Area-based programs for all grades in UEMS. The UEMS Experiential Week brochure will be available in the coming weeks.
Washington D.C. (7th and 8th grade)
Trip Leader: Nick Marti, nmarti@sterneschool.org
If you're interested in learning more about the Washington D.C. trip (available to our 7th and 8th grade students) you can join our interest list.

I want to learn more about the D.C. trip (7th and 8th grade)