Continued Growth at Walden West
Message from County Superintendent of Schools
The Task Force and our site staff have focused on the safety and security of Walden West students and staff. I want to commend and thank the members of the Task Force and the staff for their diligence and effort in this endeavor. The work has been significant as the Task Force has created strong recommendations regarding policies and procedures; implemented important staff and volunteer trainings; and initiated rigorous accreditation efforts.
These steps represent significant progress in addressing the operations of the camp. Walden West has provided outdoor educational opportunities for students throughout Santa Clara County for over 60 years and our goal is to continue providing an enriching, safe, and rewarding experience for generations of future students. With student and staff safety as a priority, there has been an increase in engagement, inclusivity, collaboration, transparency, and cross-utilization of services as a result.
I invite you to read the updates posted here as well as review the many resources and manuals available to all stakeholders. We know that trust is earned, especially when working with young people, and these efforts represent our concrete steps to rebuild that trust.
Jon R. Gundry
New policies and procedures at Walden West
It has been a successful year at Walden West. We appreciate the strong recommendations of the Task Force and the dedication of the Walden West staff in adopting new policies and procedures, and teachers that come with their students to the site have adjusted to being more involved and are supportive of the overall changes to the school.
Currently at Walden West, there is full implementation of child safety trainings including creation of a digital format for training staff and volunteers. The training of volunteers has not only improved in quantity and quality, but also now includes the educational goals of Walden West.
A comprehensive, updated Walden West manual has been developed covering topics such as safety, employee conduct standards, and parent communication. It was created for all Walden West stakeholders: employees, volunteers, parents, and students.
In addition to being accredited through the California Outdoor School Association (COSA), Walden West was recently reviewed by the American Camp Association (ACA) for accreditation. We expect to receive a result by November 2016 regarding the ACA accreditation, which “educates camp owners and directors in the administration of key aspects of camp operation, particularly those related to program quality and the health and safety of campers and staff,” according to the website.