WHO WE ARE
WHAT WE DO
OUR VENUES
SUPPORT US
VISIT

School Year Connections

School Year Connections


We partner with Boston Public Schools to help close the opportunity and achievement gaps by bringing students to Thompson Island every year throughout middle school. Program length ranges from one to three days with each student visiting Thompson Island two times per year throughout their middle school education. The programs are complemented by pre and post classroom lessons that prepare students for learning and “living” on the island. By exposing students to unique experiences and a new environment outside their comfort zone, Thompson Island Outward Bound ignites curiosity and allows students to push past their preconceived ideas of what they can achieve.

Guided by experienced instructors and supported by their teachers, students explore Thompson Island’s wide variety of ecosystems, from the tide pools to the forests. During hands-on outdoor STEM lessons, kids explore, investigate, and develop their ideas as scientists, fostering a sense of their own capabilities. Small group sizes allow students to build meaningful connections with their classmates and make it possible for instructors to provide support to students when they need it.

The structure of School Year Connections is meant to extend beyond Thompson Island; our Course Directors (CDs) will be embedded in partner schools to fully engage with the students, teachers and families. This allows us to build stronger relationships with schools and expands our ability to deepen social emotional impact. Our school presence helps us understand classroom challenges and opportunities; sparks collaborative planning and problem solving; builds capacity for teachers, classrooms and students; and improves student and family relationships.

Teachers and administrators interested in partnership information are encouraged to fill out a request information form.

Request Info

 

 

 

 

“I like that the students get to build their leadership skills...Kids that don't really speak up in the classroom get a chance to speak up here."

—Ivette Rubio, 6th Grade Math/Science Teacher, Neighborhood House Charter School

Explore The Island

Boston's Island Classroom

Thompson Island is one of the largest, most accessible and most ecologically diverse islands in the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park. With 204 acres of undeveloped property, the island has mature forests, meadows, freshwater and marine wetlands, salt marshes and a variety of important geological features. Our amenities make Thompson Island ideal for school trips, class retreats and educational field trips. Amenities include a formal school campus complete with dormitories, dining hall, classrooms, lab space, auditoriums, gymnasium, outdoor challenge courses and climbing towers.

(Click Map Hotspots to Explore)

Explore The Island

Boston's Island Classroom

Thompson Island is one of the largest, most accessible and most ecologically diverse islands in the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park. With 204 acres of undeveloped property, the island has mature forests, meadows, freshwater and marine wetlands, salt marshes and a variety of important geological features. Our amenities make Thompson Island ideal for school trips, class retreats and educational field trips. Amenities include a formal school campus complete with dormitories, dining hall, classrooms, lab space, auditoriums, gymnasium, outdoor challenge courses and climbing towers.

compass icon
Erosion Bluff
compass icon
West Salt Marsh
compass icon
East Salt Marsh
compass icon
Learning Zone (Microwilderness)
compass icon
Gable Orchard
compass icon
Classrooms
compass icon
Ferry
compass icon
Bowditch Grove High and Low Ropes Course
compass icon
Kayaking (Boston Harbor)
compass icon
Campsites
compass icon
Intertidal Zone
compass icon
Challenge Field
compass icon
Dormitories
torn image

Erosion Bluff

This is one of multiple geologic sites students visit on the island formed by earth’s natural processes- erosion, deposition, weathering, etc. Experimentation and collecting evidence gives students hands-on opportunities to discover how the island continues to be shaped by those forces.

West Salt Marsh

Digging deep into the intricacies of the salt marsh, students explore how energy and matter move in an ecosystem. Students examine organisms through guided inquiry and exploration to collectively construct a salt marsh food web.

East Salt Marsh

Digging deep into the intricacies of the salt marsh, students explore how energy and matter move in an ecosystem. Students examine organisms through guided inquiry and exploration to collectively construct a salt marsh food web.

Learning Zone (Microwilderness)

Through investigation and observation, students learn about adaptations in the world of insects. Using engaging scientific tools, students collect insects to discover how certain variations can lead to increased survival in an ecosystem

Gable Orchard

Fun and exciting low ropes obstacle course elements are found in Gable Orchard. Students work together to get their team over walls, problem solve to get through a spiders web, communicate to balance the whale watch and much more.

Classrooms

Classroom lessons introduce students to scientific concepts through hands-on demonstrations. Students practice making and recording scientific observations, forming relevant questions and making connections to prior knowledge. Practicing these skills prepare students for their island experience.

Ferry

The Motor Vessel Outward Bound (our ferry) leaves from the EDIC dock off of Drydock Avenue in South Boston. The 25 minute ride through the Boston Harbor to Thompson Island is always a highlight for groups visiting the island.

Bowditch Grove High and Low Ropes Course

Partners or trios work together to utilize their team's strengths to get up the Giants Ladder- a high ropes course vertical ladder. In Bowditch Grove students also participate in our ground-based low ropes obstacle course elements.

Kayaking (Boston Harbor)

Groups propel the waters of the Boston Harbor in two-person kayaks to learn paddling techniques, capsize and rescue procedures, weather forecasting and navigation skills.

Campsites

Students spend their backpacking course exploring the island preserve, where they investigate geology and ecology of forests, salt marshes and beaches, while learning camp craft, wilderness skills and environmental stewardship. Nights are spent at various raised platform tents or in shelters around the island.

Intertidal Zone

Students travel to the Intertidal Zone to learn about trophic levels- producers, consumers and decomposers. Exploration allows students to encounter a wide variety of organisms in order to examine how the unique roles of each trophic level help energy flow through the ecosystem.

Challenge Field

The Challenge Field consists of two Alpine Towers- 62’ tall, self-supporting structures that provide unique group challenges. They’re the ideal high ropes challenge course elements to foster team building, improve communication skills and develop self esteem.

Dormitories

Students sleep in dormitories separated by gender, typically on separate floors or in different buildings. Adults stay in the dorms with the students- either our staff, or the adults who accompany the students to the island. Our dorms range in size from 2-5 beds per room and feature nice, clean wooden single beds.

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH