Black Butte School Overview

Nestled in the heart of the Metolius Basin, Black Butte School is a public K-8 school. The school offers a dynamic educational experience that leverages the local community and the unique bioregion of the Metolius Basin to enhance student learning. The field-based curriculum blends classroom lessons with real world experiences and adventures to foster students' genuine curiosity, knowledge, and confidence. 

Our School

Our K-8 students learn inside and outside in an intimate two-room schoolhouse nestled in the heart of the Metolius Basin. The Basin is home to a vibrant community of people, a Wild and Scenic River, and a diversity of plants and animals--all of which have important lessons to teach. The schoohouse, built in 1951, has two classrooms used for mixed-age groups of lower and upper grade students, a multipurpose space, and a solarium. The grounds around the school border many miles of public land and include a sports field, basketball court, and a playground. While students spend most of their time on the school grounds, they leave campus regularly to learn in the field.

Our Philosophy and Values

Our core values: community, curiosity, learning, stewardship, and wellness, are the foundation of how we educate and empower our students.
We believe...

  • an inclusive and positive community and a healthy environment enables all students to thrive;
  • inter-disciplinary programs organized thematically provide authentic opportunities for learning;
  • place-based experiences and adventures help students to learn about themselves, their communities, and the greater world in memorable and transformational ways;
  • well-designed projects engage students in solving real-world problems that benefit the community and empower them to develop leadership skills and confidence; and 
  • educational experiences need to be dynamic, opportunistic, individualized, and holistic in order to develop the whole child emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and physically.

Our Goals

Black Butte School strives to educate students who:

  • have a strong sense of place and feel connected to the people and environments around them,
  • can confidently apply skills in math and literacy to real world situations,
  • are life-long learners curious about the world they live in,
  • take personal responsibility for their actions and education, and
  • are leaders for positive change in their communities.

Learning is an Adventure

At Black Butte School we believe that a student's time in school should be an adventure. New stimulating experiences fosters expanded understandings and long-term memories. Every year at our school is different, as students and staff embrace the unfamiliar and constantly strive to learn more, see more, and do more together. We find ways to make school exciting through our adventure-based programs. These include an all-school campout, regular field trips to local attractions, skiing at Hoodoo Ski Area in the winter, and lots of outdoor games and hikes around the schoolyard. We take advantage of the amazing natural setting of our school whenever possible. Sometimes the adventure is spontaneous, like learning about lightning during a thunderstorm. Other times it is something the students work and plan for, like our end-of-the-year overnight trip. We help students to meet Common Core Standards while taking advantage of opportunities for adventure and experience. 

Education for Sustainability

One core goal of Black Butte School is to foster a sustainable school that positively influences the surrounding community and environment. Themes of sustainability and systems thinking provide the backbone to many of the educational experiences. Students regularly engage in projects that seek to solve pressing local issues related to sustainability. Students also act as stewards of their environment and community by organizing and implementing projects, such as planting native plants or helping community members in need. In addition, students and staff work on projects with a goal to reduce the footprint of the school on the environment. Overtime, we hope to make a positive impact on the world around us.