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Interested in Seeing EL in Action?

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    Ben Smith

Schools hosting site seminars are implementing Expeditionary Learning at a high level. During site seminars, participants visit classes, meet with administrators and teachers and enjoy exemplary student work.  Site seminar participants discuss theory-in-practice issues and share observations with fellow educators and administrators.  The 2012-2013 site seminar offerings with descriptions are noted below. 

 Genesee Community Charter School (Grades K-6)

OCTOBER 18-19, 2012

Genesee Community Charter School is known for strong learning expeditions that result in high-quality student projects and products.  This site seminar will demonstrate how well-planned learning expeditions can address the Common Core State Standards through rigorous and engaging instructional practices, thoughtfully-aligned learning targets and assessments, ambitious student products, and arts integration. Classroom observations, teacher-led seminars, and structured reflections will help you place learning expeditions at the heart of your instructional program in order to strengthen student motivation and achievement.

For information contact Lisa Wing, Principal, Genesee Community Charter School 585 271 4552 EXT 460 or


NOVEMBER 14-15, 2012

Proficiency Assessment: From Interventions to Internships

“From Interventions to Internships” will highlight how the staff of Health and Science School (HS2) has built systems of proficiency assessment as a school to provide a full range of college readiness experiences for our diverse student body.  Founded with a commitment to Expeditionary Learning and equity in 2007, HS2 maintains proficiency work with early interventions of SIOP at 6th grade all the way to the Credit Recovery and Internship work that we do with our seniors.   The two day site seminar includes classroom observations, in-depth discussions with students and staff, and facilitated analysis of the work that supports HS2’s assessment and intervention success. The learning targets will include:

  • I can describe a comprehensive Proficiency-Based Assessment system.
  • I can explain how I can implement elements of a Proficiency-Based Assessment system that support student success.

The optional third day will focus on our strong community connections through our Internships program. Participants will accompany HS2 students to a local internship site and have a chance to work with students, HS2 staff, and community partners on a plan to engage their local community in fieldwork, internships, and school-based programming. Targets will include:

  • I can describe the purpose, characteristics and common pillars for active community engagement in my school.
  • I can create an action plan that will engage my community in the support of student achievement and success.

 For information, contact Steve Day, Principal, Health and Science School, 503 533-1853, or



NOVEMBER 8-9, 2012

Delaware Ridge Elementary School has been part of the EL network for five years and is characterized by high levels of school-wide implementation of the EL model, strong culture and high levels of student achievement.  We are a public school located in Kansas City, Kansas serving students in Preschool through grade five.

Our two day site seminar includes classroom observations, portfolio presentations, and focused discussions on the leadership structures that have led to the student and teacher achievement at Delaware Ridge Elementary.

During your two days with us, you will have the opportunity to learn, through a variety of experiences, the ways we engage children:

  • Culture and Character- character traits, morning meetings, community circle, parent panel, student panel, student led tours
  • Leadership- teacher leadership, students leadership, leadership structures
  • Student Engagement- student portfolio presentations, student responsibility for learning, evidence of quality work as a result of multiple drafts, evidence of assessment FOR and assessment OF learning.

The seminar will provide time for participants to meet with teachers through share and debrief sessions.

For information, contact Cindy Kapeller, Principal, Delaware Ridge Elementary, 913-441-2126



JANUARY 22-23, 2013

Sustaining and Thriving: Silverton School is a rural EL school in its 9th year.  Experience and learn how our small rural K-12 school develops citizen scholars through unique CREW structures, compelling topics, authentic fieldwork, assessment for learning, and thoughtful differentiation. The two-day seminar will feature classroom observations, debrief opportunities with Silverton staff, a community meeting, and conversations with students about their successes as learners in a K-12 rural setting. The seminar will  address the ways that that EL Core Practices can be adapted to fit a small rural school setting with limited staff and limited resources to meet the needs of all learners.

There is an optional 3rd day for individuals to participate in fieldwork in beautiful Silverton, Colorado. Through this experience, participants will see the necessity of fieldwork in quality expedition development and how authentic exploration increases student inquiry and engagement.

For information, contact Kim White,Superintendent, Silverton Public Schools, 970-387-554



FEBRUARY 13-14, 2013

Student Engaged Assessment

The Odyssey School is characterized by exemplary standards of intellectual achievement, character, and social responsibility. Part of the network for over 15 years, Odyssey is a school with impressive student achievement and EL mentor school status. Over several years, the Odyssey staff has worked to implement a range of classroom assessment practices that have contributed to student success. The two day site seminar includes classroom observations and facilitated analysis of what and how student-engaged assessment practices lead to engagement and achievement. The learning targets will include:

1. I can identify assessment practices when I see them in action.

2. I can infer the role of assessment in student engagement and achievement.

For information contact Marcia Fulton, Principal, Odyssey School, 303-316-3944



APRIL 11-12, 2013

Evergreen is well-known for its strong environmental focus locally, in the Expeditionary Learning network, in the North Carolina Charter School network, as a founding member of the National Green Charter School network, and in the Green Schools National Network. The U.S. Department of Education recently designated Evergreen a Green Ribbon School for our commitment to the environment, one of 78 schools across the country that were so designated.  Our environmental education model - guided by the three Green Ribbon School pillars of Health & Wellness, Environmental Literacy, and Facilities (green campus) - is our unique way of implementing the EL Core Practices.

During the two full days of the Site Seminar we will showcase how Evergreen uses the design principle, The Natural World, to connect core practices in the dimensions of Curriculum and Culture and Character. We will emphasize our integration of environmental education across the curriculum through our expeditions, the concepts and values we promote, the initiatives and events we hold, and the “green” aspects of our grounds and facilities. The two-day visit will include:

  • classroom visits (highlighting EL Curriculum practices) 
  • workshops (including designing expeditions with the Common Core in mind),
  • focused discussion groups (including aligning EL, Environmental Education, and Common Core)
  • environmental education activities (highlighting the outdoor classroom and EL trail)
  • involvement in Evergreen’s Culture and Character traditions (including circles and  lunchroom concert)

For information, please contact Susan Gottfried, ECCS Executive Director at 828.298.2173 or .



APRIL 25-26, 2013

The Springfield Renaissance School is an urban, gr. 6-12 college bound school.  Opened in 2006, the school's first three graduating classes (2010, 2011, and 2012) each had a 100% college acceptance rate.  It has been the top scoring Springfield middle and high school on the state graduation exams for 6 consecutive years, and has completed learning expeditions with all kinds of parters, public and private.  The school is an Expeditionary Learning Mentor School, a Massachusetts Innovation School, and a Magnet Schools of America School of Excellence.  The two-day site seminar will focus upon the following:

1. Supporting and executing high stakes Passage Portfolios, Senior Talks and Student Led Family Conferences

2. Effective implementation of the workshop model approach to teaching and learning

3. Using Crew as an integral component to the school's culture and to student achievement

For information, please contact Steve Mahoney, Principal at 413-750-2929



King Middle School (Grades 6–8)
Portland, Maine
May 9-10, 2013

King Middle School has an extraordinary story-- before the school became a member of the first cohort of Expeditionary Learning Schools in 1992, it was a low-performing school with a negative school culture. It now exhibits a sparkling school culture, impressive test scores, and a highly-developed structure of Learning Expeditions with quality student projects and significant fieldwork in every grade-level team. With a diverse student body of one-third recent refugees, there are 29 languages spoken by King students, and yet the school has a unified and inclusive sense of community.

Participants will observe classes and meet with teachers, teacher teams, students, and administrators. Topics are wide-ranging and include: high quality products; scheduling; team planning; the role of community and King’s experience as a highly successful Expeditionary Learning School.

For information, contact Hiram Sibley, Assistant Principal, King Middle School, 207-874-8140