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A Message from Scott Hartl, President & CEO

  • Date

  • Author

    April Hattori

To the Expeditionary Learning Community:

As you settle into the new school year, I want to call your attention to a new independent study that provides an important affirmation of our work.  You can read the full report here and a two-page summary here.  Also, a story on the study appeared in Education Week today (“Expeditionary Learning Schools Boosted Reading, Math, Study Finds”).

In the first rigorous review of Expeditionary Learning school performance, the research group Mathematica Policy Research found that middle school students at five Expeditionary Learning schools performed significantly better in reading and math than similar students in other public schools. Specifically, the study demonstrates that Expeditionary Learning students accumulate about an extra seven months of learning growth in reading and 10 months of extra learning growth in math after three years.

Such strong study results validate our approach to school – where intentional focus on citizenship and character are joined with rigorous academic learning. These qualities of teaching and learning that have been the foundation of our model since we were founded 20 years ago are central to meeting today’s challenge to develop students who are successful in college, career, and life. It is significant that the Education Week story on these results specifically names critical thinking, problem-solving, project-based learning and deeper learning as distinguishing features of our model; many educators across the country beyond Expeditionary Learning schools will celebrate this affirming news.

Mathematica focused on students in three Expeditionary Learning schools in New York City (Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School, Marsh Avenue Expeditionary Learning School, and Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School) and two in Washington, D.C. (Capital City Public Charter Lower, Capital City Public Charter Upper).  The researchers who conducted the study used the same rigorous standards used in other national education studies.

We thank the schools that participated in the study.  I am proud of the results that lay an important research foundation for our work going forward and identify future areas of study.  I am excited that the results validate our mission to create classrooms where teachers can fulfill their highest aspirations and where students can achieve more than they think possible.

Scott Hartl

President & CEO