By Karen Billing
The Del Mar Union School District board June 25 approved the outdoor education field trips for the upcoming school year, known as sixth-grade camp. However, all the schools will now be attending Camp Cuyamaca, an outdoor education program aligned with the California State Educational Framework and curriculum, which is sponsored by the San Diego County Office of Education.
Ashley Falls parent Jen Charat said she was disappointed to see the district going to a uniform camp offering, because some schools (such as Ashley Falls) had chosen to attend Camp Marston in the past. Not only were there “beloved memories” of sixth-grade camp at Marston, she said, but she also believes the camp is aligned with Common Core State Standards.
Charat said she wondered whether this change was a reflection of the district’s desire to make equalization a priority. “The ability to make choices at the school sites seems big to me,” she said.
Superintendent Holly McClurg said they looked into the issue of outdoor education at length. They felt that Cuyamaca was the best choice districtwide because of the protection it offers: It is staffed by the County Office of Education and approved by the State Department of Education.
“It wasn’t anything that the other camp isn’t, but that Cuyamaca is a product of the County Office of Education, ” McClurg said. “The principals were informed and discussions held. In the end, it was a leadership decision.
“Half of the students already go to Cuyamaca and love it. They will still have a wonderful camp experience,” she said.
McClurg said she felt the decision was not precedent-setting as far as “equalization” of the school sites.