Program Apprentice

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Dillon, CO
United States

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Job Description:

The employees of Keystone Science School collectively work for the Mission, and truly live the Vision and Values! We offer competitive health and welfare benefits, and employee housing (based on the position offered). Our campus is located at 9,200 feet on the site of Old Keystone Village in Keystone, Colorado. Our historic 23-acre campus serves as the ultimate outdoor laboratory and is the home base for our diverse suite of programs. Our facilities include modern log-style dormitories, a central dining hall, an outdoor amphitheater, a state-of-the-art observatory and geothermal field. Visit to learn more!

Program Overview and Position Summary:

KSS School Programs offer a range of programs that provide a balance of hands-on science activities, field based exploration, and adventure all based upon scientific themes including aquatic ecology, forest ecology, earth science, snow science, health, and nutrition. Programs can be hosted on the KSS campus, at a school location, or at a camping based location for a duration of one day to seven days.

The Keystone Science School Apprentice is a developmental position with the goal of training future KSS Program Instructors. Program advancement is based on a three-tiered system to track apprentice’s growth as outdoor educators throughout the school year. Progression through the tiered process reflects an increase in stipend, time commitment and individual responsibility for programming.

The first tier is an introductory phase and focuses on familiarizing the apprentice with KSS curriculum and programs. During this time, apprentices have extensive opportunity for shadowing and observation of KSS programs in the field. The second tier is a developmental phase during which apprentices practice the teaching and outdoor leadership techniques they have acquired while co-planning and team teaching a wide variety of KSS curricula alongside a field instructor. The final tier, the Practicum phase, requires apprentices to solo plan and teach any and all KSS curricula. During the Practicum phase, the apprentice may also have an opportunity to be evaluated by field instructors and given feedback to continue developing professionally.

Our ideal candidate will focus on the following essential duties and responsibilities:

  • The main responsibility of a KSS Program Apprentice is to work through a three-tier learning progression. In order to progress to the next tier, the apprentice must demonstrate competence in each of the goals listed under the preceding tier. Apprentices will be assessed for tier advancement at the end of each trimester.
  • Tier 1: Introduction: (30 hr/wk) $250/month Stipend Eligibility
    • Participate in all staff training (40+ hr/wk)
    • Shadow and observe a wide variety of KSS programs and field days lead by field instructors and engage in extensive debriefs with the observed instructors to better understand how to lead successful programs.
    • Develop and begin work on a long term project
    • Solo teach non field-based KSS programs (evening programs, meals, school group orientations and other large group activities)
    • Begin to team teach in-field activities under field instructor guidance
    • Develop knowledge of KSS fall/spring curriculum
  • Tier 2 Developmental: (35 hr/wk) $450/month Stipend Eligibility
    • Team teach a wide variety of curriculum co-planned with Program Instructor
    • Lead any non-field based KSS program (EP, LGO, Meals)
    • Work on/complete long term project
    • Develop knowledge of all KSS curriculum (including winter specifics)
    • Develop a wide base of KSS program knowledge i.e. school programs, summer camp, outreach
  • Tier 3 Practicum: (40 hr/wk) $1000/month Stipend Eligibility
    • Solo teach all curriculum
    • Receive formal evaluations from KSS field instructors and set continuing developmental goals
    • Present long term project to KSS Program Instructors and Staff
    • Have extensive knowledge of all KSS programs
    • Act as lead instructor for at least 1 School group

Along with working through the three-tier progression, all apprentices are responsible for completing basic support staff responsibilities, such as manual labor projects, facilitating meals, and evening programs. Apprentices will also work on a long term project, which address additional goals of the apprentice position. The project is determined in collaboration with the Staff and Curriculum Manager to aid in the apprentice’s development towards becoming a full-time instructor and is placed in their portfolio.

NOTICE TO ALL APPLICANTS: To perform this apprenticeship successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The minimum requirements in knowledge, skills, and abilities for the candidate of our choice:

  • Must possess an intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action;
  • Additionally, we require and expect this person to be disciplined in thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence;
  • Strong work ethic and will work until the job is complete;
  • Motivation to contribute positively to the KSS at-large community;
  • Interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written or oral form;
  • Multi-task efficiently while managing a high-volume workload in a fast-paced, changing environment;
  • Superior customer service skills with the ability to be creative and think ‘outside the box’;
  • Strong command of communication, writing, and organizational skills;
  • Effectively interact with people of diverse backgrounds and different levels of experience;
  • Ability to work in a busy environment with many distractions;
  • Program Instructor Specific Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
    • Proven ability to creatively develop science and education curricula and lesson plans;
    • Ability to adapt instruction and lessons to meet a wide variety of learners and schools utilizing different educational philosophies;
    • Ability to be creative, adaptable, and flexible while managing students in a variety of situations;
    • Ability to read, analyze, and interpret professional journals and educational methods;
    • Motivated to contribute positively to the KSS at-large community.

In addition to the above required talents, our ideal candidate will have these preferred skillsets:

  • Spanish language skills;
  • Clean driving record and ability to obtain valid Colorado Driver’s License;
  • Must successfully pass a criminal and driving history background check.

Our travel expectations:

  • Limited travel throughout the state of Colorado

Our required education, experience, and certifications:

  • Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree;
  • Some teaching experience in a camp and/or environmental education facility;
  • Current Wilderness First Aid and CPR certification or ability to obtain within 60 days of employment;
  • Excellent driving record and a valid driver’s license.

The physical demands of this position:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools, or controls; reach with hands and arms; and talk or hear; the employee frequently is required to sit. On occasion, the employee may be required to use hand and/or power tools, but only after receiving appropriate training and approval from the KSS repair technician. The employee is often required to stand or walk. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 40 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, peripheral vision and the ability to adjust focus.  Must have the ability to teach students in an outdoor environment throughout the entire year hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing carrying a backpack weighing up to 40 pounds. 

Our work environment:

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee occasionally works outside in various weather conditions. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

How to Apply:

Provide the following documents through the KSS Online Application (visit the Employment Page at Positions are open until filled. No calls, please.  

Complete KSS Online Application (can be found by following the link and instructions above);
Cover Letter addressing your philosophy of education and describing how your previous experiences prepared you for the position;




Keystone Science School is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.

Compensation Information:

KSS School Programs Program Apprentice is a position which offers pay based on the tier of each apprentice.  There are approximately 17 days of paid time off which include holiday and vacation days based on the monthly stipend achieved through the tier system. Room and Board is available at no charge for each apprentice.