What is Expeditionary Learning?
Expeditionary Learning is a school reform model that emphasizes high achievement through active learning, character growth, and teamwork. Expeditionary Learning emphasizes five core practices and ten design principles that support teaching and learning in its schools.
Expeditions are comprised of two to three in-depth Case Studies on a particular topic. The exploration of the topic is navigated by guiding questions that challenge the students to gain an understanding of the “big ideas.” Teachers integrate several subject areas so that students see the connections in what they are learning. Students participate in fieldwork when they go out into the community to research the topic, and community members are invited to speak with the students about what they are learning. In addition, each expedition has a service element that supports the school or Decatur community.
Expeditionary Learning Schools
Expeditionary Learning (EL) is a model for Learning that is Active, Challenging, Meaningful, Public and Collaborative. EL students around the country outperform their state and district peers on standardized test. Teachers, staff and administrators focus on student engagement and developing life long learning habits to achieve academic goals. Expeditionary Learning emphasizes five Core Practices within its schools:
Curriculum: Our approach to learning makes standards come alive for students by connecting learning to real-world issues and needs. Learning Expeditions are challenging, interdisciplinary, real-world projects and in-depth studies that act as the primary curriculum units in Expeditionary Learning schools. Learning Expeditions support critical literacy and address key academic standards of content and skills, while promoting character development and fostering a service ethic.
Instruction: In Expeditionary Learning schools, teachers use strategies and techniques 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 targets guide student learning fostering ownership and responsibility for learning. Capturing student thinking and learning through inquiry, problem solving and critical thinking sets high expectations for student engagement.
Assessment: Standards based learning targets guide assessment that involves intentionally scaffolding student learning experiences until students can demonstrate mastery on an independent level. Assessment and data collection are ongoing and helps inform teachers’ instructional decisions. Students are involved in their own assessment through reflection, critique and individual goal setting.
Culture and Character: The whole school is involved in establishing a culture of respect, responsibility, courage and kindness. Teachers, staff, administrators and students are intentional in their commitment to fostering citizenship and quality work. Setting expectations and celebrating achievements book end the deep, rigorous and meaningful work teachers and students engage in throughout each day and the year.
Leadership: Schools are guided by a cohesive school vision focused on student engagement and achievement. Leadership is fostered at all levels and with all stakeholders to promote continuous improvement.
Click here to download a parent flyer with more information.
Click here to download a parent flyer in Spanish with more information.
Michele Stroud, Instructional Coach