In the fall of 1977, as part of the Magnet Schools, Houston Independent School District (HISD) began its first year of the Outdoor Education Center (OEC) at Camp Olympia.The program is a four day, three night outdoor education experience for HISD fifth graders.Our center accommodates about 5,000 students each school year, with an additional 3,000 students attending our sister school, the OEC at Forest Glen Camp. With about 15,000 fifth graders in the district, schools rotate on an every- other- year basis.The OEC was conceived as a major tool in the Magnet school program.On any given week, about three to five different schools send their fifth graders who are mixed together to form groups of 10- 12 students. The OEC was designed to provide a unique educational opportunity for Houston ISD students that emphasizes the use of natural settings in all aspects of our program.We utilize the lake, the forest, the stream, the farm, and the quiet East Texas nights to provide hands-on, experiential, multi-disciplinary activities that guide students through discovery and exploration.Students are taught inquiry-based science lessons, as well as language arts, math and social studies concepts that support HISDís fifth grade curriculum and Texas State Standards.The OEC program teaches children appreciation, awareness, expression, knowledge, and skills which act as an extension of HISD classrooms. The theme of the center is interdependency and is supported by several concepts that deal with the biological environment and humankindís place in the environment.The students are involved in a multitude of learning experiences, including forest study, conservation projects, astronomy, aquatic studies and farm activities.Through these multi-sensory activities, the OEC hopes to provide experiences which increase the studentís knowledge of humankindís natural environment, interrelationship with the environment and effect upon the environment.Students learn to feel more comfortable in the outdoors and are given the means to make connections about the natural world through close observations. ďThe interdependencies of nature are equally important to those in our society.A healthy ecosystem is one that contains a diversity of organisms (just as) a healthy society is one that promotes diversity rather than stifles it.(John Burrell, one of our former educators).ĒHere at the OEC, personal involvement with students of other backgrounds and cultures promotes valuable opportunities for developing and practicing social skills- group problem solving, team building, and communication.Students learn about themselves and others as they interact with new friends, develop knowledge about the natural world, have a variety of new experiences and ultimately build self esteem.
The OEC is a magnet science school within the Houston Independent School District.Visit www.houstonisd.org to learn more about our district and the students we serve.
The HISD OEC is located at Camp Olympia.Camp Olympia is a separate organization from us with its own mission.The OEC uses the facility to serve children during the school year calendar and Camp Olympia has a different schedule for the children they serve.Visit www.campolympia.com if you are interested in learning more about their organization.
Click here to learn more about our sister school, the HISD OEC at Forest Glen Camp.They are located in Huntsville, TX.