Where are you located?
The Sierra Outdoor School is located in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, 8 miles outside the town of Sonora. Our 26-acre site sits at an elevation of 4,100 and we are surrounded by the Stanislaus National Forest.
Why should I bring my students?
Outdoor Schools are an important aspect to the development and growth of your students. Everything the students have learned in the classroom and textbooks are directly observed. Through activities and games, students experience these concepts first hand, creating lasting memories that enrich their education tenfold. When you send your child to an Outdoor School, they will return a new person with more confidence and independence. Getting a chance to try new things, spend quality time with their classmates and friends, your student will come back with memories of a lifetime. Your student will have a stronger connection to what they are learning and to the world they live in. Thank you for giving your students this opportunity, and trusting in us to provide the best outdoor experience possible.
How will my child be supervised?
At all times, your child will be assigned to an adult chaperone from your school. The chaperones are present at all activities including classes, meals, student free-time and dormitory time. Also staff members are trained in First Aid, carry radios, and will be present or nearby.
Can I call my child?
Your child will not have access to a phone while attending SOS. If you have a message that must be delivered to your child, you may call the SOS office and we will deliver the message to your child's teacher.
Do you have Wi-Fi?
Yes, we do have Wi-Fi available in several of our school's buildings. It is an open network monitored by Fresno County Office of Education.
What if it rains?
We are an outdoor school and operate year-round in all weather conditions. In extreme weather conditions, we may modify classes to include inside teaching time. Please check our weather forecast and help your child pack accordingly.
Where will my child be sleeping?
SOS has 7 centrally located dormitories on campus; each of them sleeps between 50-66 people. 6 dorms have bunk beds, 1 has single beds. All of the dormitories are climate-controlled. They have a fully contained restroom inside which includes separate private shower stalls.
My child has special needs, can they still participate?
SOS accommodates students of all abilities. Depending on the student's capabilities, classes may be modified. Any concerns you may have should be addressed with your child's teacher who will then notify SOS. Having that information in advance will help us provide a successful experience for your child while at SOS.
What if my child becomes homesick?
Although we can't guarantee this won't happen, we can assure you that your child will be kept busy while actively participating in activities during his or her entire stay. If homesickness does surface, we rely on your child's teacher and chaperone to help comfort them.
Do you have a nurse?
Yes, we have an LVN who works at SOS during the day. They will work with your school's nursing services in regards to any medical needs that your school may have while attending SOS.
How do you handle medical emergencies?
All SOS staff are trained in First Aid and CPR, some carry higher certifications including LVN, Wilderness First Responder and EMT. They all carry first aid kits. 911 will be called for all medical emergencies. We have AEDs and Epi-Pens on-site and a stocked Heath Lodge with basic first aid supplies. Sonora offers both a 24-hour ER and a Prompt Care for daytime emergencies. If your child should need medical attention, all efforts will be made to contact parents/guardians before care or transport.
What do you do to assure the safety of my child?
All schools are required to bring a minimum of 1 adult for every 10 students that attend SOS. All adult chaperones staying on campus must be fingerprinted and pass a background check. We have also established relationships with Cal Fire, the National Forest Service and the Tuolumne County Sherriff's Office to help us monitor area activity.
Can I visit my child?
For your child's protection, we are a closed-campus. Only chaperones chosen by your child's school are allowed on-site. Any other visitors must make arrangements with your child's school prior to their stay at SOS.Do you have cell phone service?
Cell phone reception is not reliable at SOS. Depending on your carrier, you may or may not have a signal. All students are discouraged from bringing a cell phone to SOS.What is the weather going to be like?
At 4'100 in elevation, you can expect our temperatures to be at least 10 degrees cooler than in the valley. Please check our weather forecast on this website to help your child pack the appropriate clothing. You will want to send extra clothing in the wet winter months.What kind of food do you serve?
All of our meals ensure maximum sustenance for your students' active lifestyle here. We can accommodate vegetarian diets and most food allergies; however, you must fill out a special dietary request form and return it to your child's teacher at least 2 weeks before attending SOS. See our Sample Menu.Will my child have enough to eat?
We are confident that even the most finicky of eaters will find something to eat while at SOS. Each meal provides several food options that your child can choose from.What if my child takes medication?
All medicines will be administered by Trained School Personnel from your child's school. If your child takes medications, they must be turned in to your child's teacher before leaving for SOS. Students are not allowed to keep medicine on them while at SOS. The only exceptions to this rule are life-saving medications including inhalers, epi-pens and insulin.What if my child becomes sick?
To protect the rest of the students, if your child is running a fever over 100 degrees or showing any other signs or symptoms of illness including vomiting and diarrhea, s/he will be sent home. Your child's teacher will make arrangements with you to come pick up your child.If my child is sick, will I receive a refund?
Our billing to the school will be prorated to reflect the time that your child was in attendance at SOS. You may follow up with your school administration in regards to a refund.Should my child bring money?
We have a store where you can purchase a variety of objects, and we have a snack cart so your child can purchase snacks for the afternoon. To learn more about what we sell and our prices check out our SOS store.If we have an emergency and need to reach our child, who do we contact?
You may call our office (209) 532-3691; the phone is monitored 7:00 am-9:00 pm during the school week. If no answer, you can leave a message and we will see that it gets delivered to your child's teacher.