Team students make transition back to Redwood

Kelly Klein

Of the 11 Redwood students who were admitted into the Team program last year, only six returned to Redwood for their senior year.

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On a trip to the Sierras, Team students Emily Rostek, Nick Proestos, and Jessica Rasmussen cross a river to continue their hike.

A group of about 24 juniors from the Tamalpais Union High School District join Team every year, and must choose whether or not to return to their original high school the next fall.  However, five of the 11 Redwood students that were admitted into Team chose to attend Tamiscal Independent Study for their senior year.

Team, a program run from Tamiscal High School, is a program designed to allow juniors to study high school curriculum through outdoor education while travelling throughout California.

Chuck Ford, a primary instructor in U.S. History and Wilderness Medicine at Team, said many people have misconceptions about the educational aspects of Team.

“Because Team is based off of Tamiscal there is confusion, because Tamiscal uses independent study, whereas Team is experiential,” Ford said.  “The real focus is still on learning, but by actually doing it and getting out of the classroom.”

In years past, most Team students have returned to their original high school, but this year, five students have chosen to stay at Tamiscal, because of the smaller classes, more intimate relationships, and a more independent academic schedule.

Redwood senior Nicole Durtschi, a former Team student, is currently taking four classes at Tamiscal, one at College of Marin, and one class, Honors Biomed, at Redwood.  Durtschi said that she chose to remain a Tamiscal student because she liked the close relationships and the atmosphere of a small school.

“I thought about going back to Redwood, but I wanted something different,” Durtschi said.

Durtschi also said that Tamiscal allowed her to focus her education on what she wanted to learn about, specifically her passion for science.

Elly Fike, a former Team student, returned to Redwood full time this fall instead of staying at Tamiscal because of Redwood’s academic help.

“I chose to come back to Redwood because Tamiscal would be too hard to deal with,” Fike said.  “I just wanted to go back to the normal high school schedule instead of a independent study.”

Although students at Team spend around the same amount of time in a classroom as those at Redwood, Team students also focus on the program’s outdoor education while balancing their academic work with less instruction.

Fike said that the free time helped her become more independent, but that the freedom comes with a price.

“Being at Tamiscal requires so much time and better time management, especially senior year,” Fike said.  “That’s also why I didn’t want to do it again this year.”

Redwood senior and former Team student Jeremy Becker said he partly chose to return to Redwood so he could run cross country.  While some sports allow team students to stay on the team, Becker said he wasn’t able to fully commit to Redwood’s Team.

According to Becker, Team’s size makes it impossible for students to take advantage of the wide range of classes offered at schools as large as Redwood.

Madison Bacchi, a former Team student currently at Redwood, also said she made the transition back to Redwood for academic reasons.  Bacchi said that although the transition to Team was hard academically, the Team experience was worth the transition.

Bacchi said that the internships and community service she did while in Team allowed her to discover her new passion and desire for a future in education and teaching.

She said she believes sophomores who are interested in Team would only benefit from the program if they knew what they wanted to achieve through doing the program.

“It really depends on your mindset,” Bacchi said.  “If you have the right reasons to join Team, like wanting something different and figuring out what you want to do with your life, Team can really work in your benefit to its full potential.”