Expeditionary Learning

Video about EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning), featuring several EL schools and educators.


- ♪ Let’s get it started ♪ ♪ Let’s get it started in here ♪

- [Narrator] Expeditionary Learning Schools are the highest-performing schools in a number of U.S. cities. ♪ Let’s get it started ♪ ♪ Let’s get it started in here ♪

- [Narrator] Since 1993, Expeditionary Learning has transformed hundreds of schools to improve achievement.

- What do you think, you know what either of these means?

- [Narrator] And develop students who are problem solvers, critical thinkers, and active citizens ready for the 21st century. ♪ Let’s get it started ♪ ♪ Let’s get it started in here ♪ ♪ Let’s get it started ♪ ♪ Let’s get it started in here ♪ ♪ Let’s get it started ♪ ♪ Let’s get it started in here ♪

- Thunder sounded like boom, crash, splunk.

- [Narrator] Expeditionary Learning partners with all kinds of schools, new and existing, urban, rural, and suburban and elementary, middle, and high schools. It is a rigorous and engaging solution to the problems reported in education today.

- The central promise of Expeditionary Learning is that you don’t have to choose between high test scores, intellectual rigor, and deeply engaging teaching and learning.

- [Narrator] On a recent visit to Capital City Public Charter School, one of the top-performing schools in Washington, D.C., President Obama held up Expeditionary Learning as a national model.

- This kind of innovative school is an example of how all our schools should be.

- [Narrator] At the World of Inquiry School in Rochester, New York, student achievement is the highest of any elementary school in the city.

- Right now it’s number one in science, number one in mathematics in the city of Rochester despite the fact that it has 70% of its kids coming in at or below the poverty level.

- [Narrator] The weekly community meeting fosters student responsibility and helps build a positive school culture.

- Expeditionary Learning has been the best thing that could’ve happened to World of Inquiry. It’s helped kids take more ownership for their learning.

- [Students] Thank you!

- We started Expeditionary Learning in 2002, so to think of where we were then, we’ve changed leaps and bounds.

- [Narrator] One of the best examples of how transformative Expeditionary Learning can be is King Middle School in Portland, Maine. At King, over 1/4 of the students are foreign born and speak 29 languages, yet students consistently exceed state and district averages at every grade level and in every subject.

- I’m gonna actually let you guys do the problem solving, okay?

- [Narrator] In an Expeditionary Learning School, students learn by doing long-term investigations of important topics that mirror real-world challenges.

- All three parameters, pH, temperature, E. coli, each and every one of you do only at your site.

- [Narrator] In this learning expedition, King students become scientists. They work with teachers and outside experts to test and record the water quality of Maine’s Presumpscot River.

- They’re learning the same science as other kids in other middle schools are but with an entirely different sense of purpose and a different rigor.

- EL Schools are very rigorous academically, and the idea is to put together really important and difficult work with great joy in doing it with engagement. It doesn’t require rivers, it only requires a sense of going after things and discovering them.

- [Narrator] A world away, in the urban neighborhood of Thornton, Colorado, the Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts, MESA, puts college readiness as a goal from day one.

- They put a lot of focus onto college and what we’re supposed to do to get to it and achieve it, and it just changed everything. I’ve never been so prepared before.

- Pull out your writing reflection that I just handed back.

- Expeditionary Learning allows us to build the kind of lessons that really are gonna engage kids regardless of what they walk in the door with.

- [Narrator] MESA uses an arts-centered curriculum to inspire its students.

- MESA shows that all kids not only can benefit from art, but that that art is a way of deepening their understanding of reading and writing and math and science.

- Our goal for today is to check in on this strategic plan and do some ...

- [Narrator] Expeditionary Learning holds professional development as the primary driver of school improvement.

- Good teaching happens only when teachers are engaged over a long period of time in strong professional development, which can change and improve their practice. Start with your long-term targets. Give us kind of an overview.

- [Narrator] School designers work on-site and off-site with teachers and administrators to transform a school from top to bottom.

- Expeditionary Learning engages our teachers and school leaders in much the same way we hope they engage their students. Our professional development is filled with projects, with studying real things. For students, Expeditionary Learning at its core is about being asked to put knowledge and skills to work.

- This is a river meandering.

- [Narrator] In Expeditionary Learning Schools, students create products that have value in the world beyond their classrooms.

- Even though the Presumpscot has had its history of pollution, the water now is much cleaner.

- [Narrator] And students often present their work to industry and community leaders.

- Students have created field guides, they’ve written books, they’ve made films

- [Teacher] So, we got some really exciting news this week.

- [Narrator] At Expeditionary Learning high schools around the country, 100% college acceptance is the standard.

- The first person I’d like to recognize is Angel Carbajal.

- [Narrator] Angel won a prestigious four-year, full-tuition scholarship to the University of Denver.

- In my family, nobody else finished high school, so that was one of my main goals. Do something better with my life and do it for my family ‘cause they never could.

- [Narrator] In fact, all 44 seniors in MESA’s first graduating class were accepted into four-year colleges.

- The only reason I’m graduating or even getting accepted to college is because they push me. First, I wanna thank my mom for bringing me to this country and sacrificing so much for me. I wanna thank ...

- Expeditionary Learning is redefining what can be expected of students.

- Hey, Michael, I see you back there. Do you see me up here? If you follow my footsteps, you will be here in two years.

- [Teacher] For us there is no choice but to succeed because the option of them not having a real chance to get to college, that’s not an option we’re willing to entertain.

- How do we take the lessons of a great school like MESA and make sure that we can have a hundred good schools like MESA?

- Once students leave an Expeditionary Learning School, they can achieve as readers, writers, and thinkers, but they’re also socially aware. They understand what it means to be a citizen and engaged in hard conversations, and that’s what Expeditionary Learning helps foster.

- My kids have opportunities here that I wasn’t able to have at such a young age. Growing up, we mostly read about it, and here they’re doing it, and it makes such a big difference.

- The biggest success for me is looking at them and saying, you rose to the opportunity and really got it done in a phenomenal way. This is an allegory for what you can do in every facet of your life.

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EL Education

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