Teacher Resources

__Outdoor Education Program__________

Get ready for your Outdoor Education trip!

On this page you will find all you will need to know for organizing and attending a program with Keystone Science School.

Please do not hesitate to call (970)468-2098 or email Support@KeystoneScienceSchool.org if you have any questions.

Steps to Organize a Field Trip

This is an abbreviated list of steps to set up an outdoor education field trip with Keystone Science School.

Choose your program and contact KSS to book dates and get pricingGet Pricing Now
Program Details FormDue upon confirming dates
Sign Agreement and pay 50% depositDue upon receipt to reserve dates with KSS
Confirm Confirm Final NumbersDue 60 days prior to arrival date
Pay Final BalanceDue 30 days prior to arrival date
Complete Program Selection FormDue 30 days prior to arrival date
Confirm completed medical and liability forms for all participantsDue 2 weeks prior to arrival date
Complete Field Group and Housing AssignmentsDue 2 weeks prior to arrival date
Attend the Program!Arrive at 12pm on the arrival date
Included in Each Program
  • Educational programming that meets Next Generation Science Standards.
  • At least one trained field instructor for every 13 students during daytime programs and at least one KSS staff member per 40 students for evening programs.
  • Transportation during the program only, 1 van per field group.
  • Relevant equipment for the programming. KSS also can lend students donated outdoor gear such as hiking boots, snow pants, jackets, etc. as needed.
  • For overnight programs: 3 meals per 24-hour period (not including lunch on arrival day) and lodging for the number of students and required chaperones for the program.

Not Included

  • Transportation to and from the program location at the start and end of the program. Unless previously booked with KSS for an additional cost.
  • Arrival to programming cannot be prior to 12:00pm and departure cannot be later than 12:00pm unless previously approved by KSS for an additional cost.
Participating School Responsibilities
  • Transportation to and from the program location
  • Arrival to programming cannot be prior to 12pm and departure cannot be later than 12pm unless previously approved by KSS
  • Provide one chaperone per 13 students and one additional support chaperone
  • Lunch on the day of arrival (students will need to bring a nut-free sack lunch)
  • Transportation is not guaranteed for chaperones that are in addition to the number of required chaperones
  • Sleeping accommodations are not guaranteed for chaperones in addition to the number of required chaperones
  • KSS staff are not permitted to administer medications including over-the-counter medications. Teachers and adult volunteers from the students’ school are required to follow their school’s policies regarding handling and dispensing student medications. KSS will provide a secure location for medicines.

As the lead teacher you will be responsible for making sure all program forms are completed. You will need to fill out the Program Details Form, Confirmation of Final Numbers, Program Selection Form, and the Field Group and Housing Assignments. You will also need to make sure all General Liability and Medical Waivers are completed by all students, teachers, and chaperones coming on the trip at least 2 weeks before your arrival date.

Student Medical & Liability Form

We need information from everyone who participates in programming with Keystone Science School to provide the best experience possible. You will receive a link to an electronic General Liability and Medical Waiver form that you need to distribute to anyone who will be attending even part of your program with Keystone Science School.

Anyone who has not submitted a completed and signed General Liability and Medical Waiver will not be permitted to attend the program with Keystone Science School.

TChaperone Expectations

Lead Teacher’s Role

The lead teacher is responsible for leading communications and trip planning with Keystone Science School, as well as organizing all teachers, parent volunteers, and students for the program. Organizing an outdoor education program of this magnitude is not an easy task so please contact us if you have any questions.

Info for Lead Teachers and Chaperones

The participation of chaperones, both teachers and parent volunteers, is an essential component of the KSS programs. We greatly appreciate the time that adults take away from their jobs, homes, and families to assist with supervision while school groups participate in KSS programs.

Here are some Roles and Responsibilities of Teachers and Chaperones that we find helpful to communicate ahead of time.

Student & Behavior Management

  • While we do our best to minimize technology during our programs, we want you to have photos to remember your experience at KSS and share with others. Please take photos!
  • One teacher or chaperone must be present with each field group during all field group times.
  • Every trip must have one additional chaperone that can stay behind should a student not be able to participate in an activity.
  • Be present at all activities, including the Evening Programs.
  • Let the students solve the challenges and answer the questions for them to get the full teambuilding and learning experience.
  • KSS Instructors will take the lead on group management during the field day, evening programs, and meals. We expect that the chaperones should support instructors, especially by helping with any one-on-one student needs so the instructors can continue to focus on the group needs. This helps us track where students are in an emergency.
  • Please sit one chaperone per student table if possible.

Flex Time & Dorms

  • A chaperone/adult must always be present and watch students with both eyes and ears to prevent incidents of bullying and physical injury.
  • An adult must always be present while students are in the dorms. For everyone’s safety always avoid being in a one-on-one situation with a chaperone and student unless they are your child.
  • Please keep students within the established boundaries that are communicated during the big group orientation. Please feel free to establish smaller boundaries if you prefer.
  • Please inform the lead instructor if any students need to go home during your trip so we can document it and have updated lists in case of an emergency.
  • A staff member is assigned to be on-call each evening. Call the on-call number if you need assistance during flex time or at night. In the case of an emergency, call 911 first and then contact the on-call person.
  • Teachers and chaperones will be responsible for facilitating students in cleaning the dorms or packing up tents at the end of the program.
  • Please report any damages or graffiti to KSS staff immediately so the problem can be corrected.


We prefer for students to not have access to any electronics including cell phones and smart watching during their program at KSS. If you choose to let your students keep their cell phones we ask that they stay in the dorms and are only used during flex time. Please note that when students have their phones in the dorms it can keep them up at night and be distracting for other students.

Keystone Science School is a technology aware campus so we encourage all teachers, chaperones, and instructors to be off of their electronics and only bring them out when necessary and away from students.

Risk Management & Student Communication

All KSS School Program Instructors hold current wilderness medicine certifications and are trained in current risk management practices. In the event of an incident or medical emergency, students are initially treated by KSS program instructors. If professional medical attention is required, the KSS staff in conjunction with the lead teacher and the school’s designated medical administrator will arrange transportation for the student(s) to the nearest medical clinic. The school’s teachers or chaperones will notify parents of the ill or injured student as soon as the situation allows.

We understand that emergencies happen. If a parent/guardian needs to contact their child for an emergency, first please have them contact the lead teacher. If you cannot get a hold of the lead teacher they may call the Keystone Science School main office at (970) 468-2098. If it is after hours they will receive instructions for how to contact our on-call phone number. Please note that the lead teacher will still be the one that the parents/guardians will need to communicate with even if they call the KSS phone number.

Concerns, Problems, Issues

Please bring any concerns to KSS staff during the program so they can be addressed during the program. We want the school to have the best possible experience.

Upon Arrival

When you reach Eisenhower Tunnel (westbound) or Vail Pass (eastbound) please call (970) 4682098 to let us know that you are close to KSS. When your group arrives at Keystone Science School, a KSS lead instructor will greet you in the roundabout in front of our office building. They will give brief instructions before your group unloads, moves into dorms, and starts the program.

Parent/Student/Chaperone Info

KSS staff, teachers, and adult volunteers from your student’s school will work together during the KSS program to communicate with students about behavior expectations and to address inappropriate behavior, as needed.

If a student behaves in any way that is considered by KSS staff, teachers, or adult volunteers to be detrimental to the quality and best interest of the program or other students, KSS reserves the right to dismiss that student from the program. If a child is dismissed from the program, parents or guardians of the child will be contacted by the lead teacher from the school and asked to pick up their child and remove them from the KSS program.

Field Groups & Housing Assignment

The arrangement of the field groups is a crucial factor in the students’ experience. Your students will spend most of their time in these groups which can be no larger than 13 students and 1 chaperone. Our field group size is set by the capacity of our vans. If there are additional chaperones in a field group, the additional chaperones will be expected to transport themselves to field days or stay back. The number of field groups is based on the number of students attending the program.

KSS will send you a link to the Field Group and Housing Spreadsheet. This spreadsheet will be customized for your program and indicate the number of field groups and the dorm setup that we have planned for your program. If your students/chaperones do not fit into the form provided please reach out to us for the next steps. This form needs to be filled out no later than 2 weeks before your program. This form is how we are able to verify completed waivers.

Tips for Arranging Field Groups

Please carefully consider the following factors when determining field groups to nurture successful group dynamics.

  • Create groups with approximately equal numbers of students in each group.
  • You may want to mix students into groups with other students they do not know very well. This will present an opportunity to develop teamwork and inclusive behavior skills.
  • We request that you do not put parent volunteers in field groups with their children. While we value the time parents take away from home to spend at KSS, this experience is an opportunity for students to learn and grow away from their traditional parent environment. We recommend exceptions to this only in the instance where a student requires special accommodations or support.
  • Please let us know before your arrival if any students in your group need specific physical or teaching accommodations.

Tips for Arranging Housing Assignments

With groups of 32 students or less, KSS will house your entire group in one dormitory. You will see this on the housing portion of the spreadsheet.

  • The organization of student’s housing assignments is up to the discretion of the school and lead teacher. We require the housing assignments only for use in case of emergencies.
  • Teachers and chaperones will be in the same building as the students and will be included on the housing assignment spreadsheet. Either in the designated chaperone room or in other rooms that are not occupied by students in the building.

It required that Lead Teachers distribute the Parent & Student Information Packet or link to the Parent & Student Preparation page on the KSS website to meet the licensing requirements for KSS programming.

KSS Journals

The journal selection will be based on the discussion during your pre-program phone call with our programs admin team which will happen at least 2 weeks before your trip. You will receive the link to your journal in the “See You Next Week” email from our customer experience team. This email will include information on how to print the journals. Please also bring Ziploc bags with the student’s name on them to put journals and pencils in while in the field.

Student Medical & Liability Form

We need information from everyone who participates in programming with Keystone Science School to provide the best experience possible. You will receive a link to an electronic General Liability and Medical Waiver form that you need to distribute to anyone who will be attending even part of your program with Keystone Science School.

Anyone who has not submitted a completed and signed General Liability and Medical Waiver will not be permitted to attend the program with Keystone Science School.

Student Medications

KSS staff are not permitted to administer student medications except in life-threatening situations. You will need to designate a nurse, teacher, or chaperone to administer any medications to students following your school’s policies regarding handling and dispensing student medications. You will need to coordinate with field group chaperones to carry the necessary emergency and scheduled medications for students in that group. KSS will provide a secure location for medications to be stored. If any of the participants have food allergies or special medical or physical concerns, please describe these conditions thoroughly on the Student Medical Form.

If a student starts feeling unwell, please let an instructor know and we will figure out the next steps based on the CDPHE “How Sick is Too Sick” plan. In the case that a student is feeling unwell enough NOT to remain in programming, we ask that they be picked up within 3 hours of a phone call home.

Packing List

View the packing list for what to bring to your field trip in our information packet here.


The professional kitchen staff at KSS are experienced in accommodating any dietary restrictions or food allergies our participants might have. We partner with schools and parents in order to completely understand the needs of each individual student and prepare food based on each child’s needs. With each overnight program we serve hot breakfast and dinners and provide students with a sack lunch to be eaten “on trail.” We encourage teachers and parents to contact us with any questions they may have.

Payment & Cancellation Policy

Outdoor Education Payment Policy

Pricing is dependent on the season, location, and your selected activities. Please contact us by calling (970)468-2098 or emailing Support@KeystoneScienceSchool.org for a current pricing sheet.

At Time of Contract Signing
  • 50% of cost (required to reserve dates)
30 Days Prior to Arrival Date
  • Payment in full due
    • Late payments may result in additional fees

Outdoor Education Cancellation Policy

Contract Signing to 90 Days Prior to Arrival Date
  • School Forfeits 50% Deposit
Within 60 Days of the Arrival Date
  • School is Responsible for full cost of the program
School Cancellation due to COVID, weather, or road conditions
  • Refund not provided

Cancellation & Refund Details

If any cancellation of a program reservation occurs between the signing of the agreement and 90 days of the arrival date, the School is responsible for 50% of the contracted costs listed in the agreement.

In the event of such a cancellation within 90 days of the arrival date, the school is responsible for 100% of the contracted costs listed in this agreement. If KSS can fill the canceled dates with the enrollment of a group of comparable size to the group, specifically to fill the program reservation for that group, the school will only be responsible for 50% of the contracted amount listed in this agreement.

A refund will not be provided if a school cancels the agreed-upon program due to a global pandemic or other unforeseen circumstances 

Changes in Group Size

Any changes to the group size will be communicated to KSS by filling out this form no later than 90 days before the program starts.

  • We cannot always accommodate an increase in group size, but if we can accommodate the increase you will be provided with an additional invoice to pay upon receipt.
  • Within 90 days of arrival date, the group will be responsible for at least 90% of the original contracted or approved amended amount.
  • Any changes made in excess of 50% of the contracted amount will not be refunded.
  • If a group size is reduced to less than 10 students, the group must pay the full amount for 10 students.
Sample Schedule

Day 1

  • 12:00pm: Arrival, Lunch & Orientations
  • 1:30pm: Field group activities
  • 4:00pm: All group activities
  • 5:00pm: Free time
  • 6:00pm: Dinner time
  • 7:00pm: Free time
  • 7:30pm: Evening programming
  • 8:30pm: To the dorms for bedtime*

Day 2

  • 8:00am: Breakfast
  • 9:00am: Prep for the day
  • 9:30am: Field group activities
  • 10:30am: Off-campus field day
  • 3:30pm: Arrive back to KSS
  • 4:00pm: Activities
  • 5:00pm: Free time
  • 6:00pm: Dinner
  • 7:30pm: Evening programming
  • 8:30pm: To the dorms for bedtime*

Day 3

  • 7:00am: Pack up and clean up dorms
  • 8:00am: Breakfast
  • 9:00am: Culminating group activities
  • 11:00am: Program wrap-up
  • 11:45am: Load buses for departure
  • 12:00pm: Departure

*Bedtime might be earlier for younger students.

Financial Aid

Keystone Science School strives to provide each student with the opportunity to participate in an outdoor education program. Financial aid awards are is based on need and are distributed to schools allowing them to distribute financial aid to students on an as-needed basis. Guidelines:

  • Scholarships typically range from 5%-30%
  • The school or group is responsible for distributing the financial aid to their students.
  • The application must be fully complete to be considered.
  • Any financial aid awarded to a school or organization must be used toward the direct cost of the program and is not permitted to be used for other expenses (transportation, food, etc.)
  • It is the school or organization’s responsibility to ensure financial aid is properly distributed to benefit families first.

To apply, please complete this application and we will be in touch within about a month with your financial aid determination.