Program Descriptions

Black Butte School's Programs

  • engage students in authentic and experiential educational opportunities and adventures;
  • focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education to develop skills for the 21st Century
  • involve students in a project-based interdisciplinary field studies program that enhances learning from the core classes (math, reading, writing, science, and social studies);
  • emphasize themes of sustainability and stewardship; and
  • foster relationships between students and their community.
Cornerstone Field Studies Program
Our classroom extends far beyond the walls of the school. The STEAM-infused field studies program allows students to bring together their learning from core subjects and apply it in the context of real-world projects in the community. This interdisciplinary program combines Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) with concepts from math, language arts, social studies, and art. During field studies students explore their local area while learning through hands-on projects connected to larger themes. The ultimate goal is to give students the skills and experiences necessary to become active participants in their community and problem-solve complex issues without a prescribed set of answers. 
Foundational Core Curriculum
Core subjects (math and literacy) are the foundation of the Black Butte School curriculum. Each morning students break into their ability groups for focused time spent on literacy and math. Literacy is a blend of language arts and social studies. These standards-based classes allow students to develop word and number fluency with an individualized curriculum. In both language arts and math, students are engaged in a wide range of writing, reading, and problem-solving skills and activities through a mix of cooperative group/project work, independent reflection time, and self-regulated work time. We strive to utilize the five art modalities (visual art, music, drama, storytelling/poetry, and creative movement) with regularity in core subjects.
Enrichment Classes
In addition to our core curriculum, students have many enrichment classes to expand and deepen their understanding of core subjects and the arts. Because of the small size of the school and staff, these classes are taught on a rotation. Over the course of a student's time at the school they will participate in a wide variety of enrichment classes including visual arts, theater arts, music, foreign language, computer literacy, yearbook, journalism, robotics, and more. 
Health and Wellness Curriculum
Teaching students to lead healthy and fulfilling lives is a goal woven throughout all that we do at Black Butte School. To achieve this goal we dedicate focused time to physical fitness and learning about healthy lifestyle choices. This time is spent participating in a very active physical education class twice a week during the spring and fall, downhill skiing and snowboarding at Hoodoo once a week in the winter, swim lessons in the spring, and lots of hiking while we explore our local ecosystems in Field Studies.
Students participate in a standards-based health class every year to learn more about healthy lifestyle choices. We also incorporate aspects of wellness into all our classes to normalize living a healthy lifestyle. This includes lots of physical movement, time outdoors, environmental stewardship, healthy eating, and developing positive self-esteem and identity. Overall we approach wellness as a lifestyle that needs to be experienced on a daily basis and not just a subject to be studied in a classroom. 
Cutting Edge Technology
Our students are fortunate to have access to school-provided 1:1 ChromeBooks that facilitate their learning in all classes. Other cutting edge technology is used in the Field Studies program, such as GPS devices and wildlife cameras. The physical education classes  also take advantage of cutting edge technology like GoPro video cameras and state-of-the art sports equipment.