Expeditionary Learning is a model for comprehensive school reform for elementary, middle, and high schools that emphasizes high achievement through active learning, character growth, and teamwork. Expeditionary Learning emphasizes five Core Practices within its schools:
- Active Pedagogy: In Expeditionary Learning schools, teachers use research based teaching practices to help students become active and collaborative learners; to make connections, to find patterns, to see events from different perspectives, to experiment, to go beyond the information given, and to develop empathy and compassion for events, people, and subjects
- Learning Expeditions: These challenging, interdisciplinary, real-world projects and in-depth studies act as the primary curriculum units in Expeditionary Learning schools. Learning expeditions support critical literacy and address central academic standards of content, while promoting character development and fostering a service ethic
- School Culture and Character: Expeditionary Learning builds shared beliefs, traditions, and rituals in order to create a school culture which is characterized by a climate of physical and emotional safety, a sense of adventure, an ethic of service and responsibility, and a commitment to high quality work
- Leadership and School Improvement: Leaders in Expeditionary Learning schools create a professional community that focuses on curriculum and instruction as the primary vehicle for improving student achievement and school culture
- School Structures: Expeditionary Learning schools use longer and more flexible schedule blocks, common planning time, heterogeneous groupings, and/or looping to ensure student success
What are the Results?
ANSER Elementary Charter School in Boise, Idaho: On a recent statewide test, 100 percent of 4th grade students were rated “proficient” or higher in reading and language arts, and 95 percent “proficient” in math, exceeding comparable state and district scores by 15-20 percent.
Buncombe Community School in Swannanoa, North Carolina: Working with some of the country’s hardest-to-reach students, in 1995, Buncombe did not send any students to higher education. After implementing Expeditionary Learning, 62 percent of the Class of 2002 were college bound
Codman Academy, Boston, MA: With a student body consisting of 97 percent students of color, 82 percent on free and reduced lunch and 18 percent special education, in 2003, all of Codman’s sophomores passed the state English Language Arts assessment on their first attempt, compared with 89 percent of all sophomores statewide.
For more information, please go to Expeditionary Learning Schools’ website: www.elschools.org