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Purposes of Crew

An EL Education school culture is planned for, developed, and sustained through practices that bring the community together, promote shared understandings, and encourage all community members to become crew, not passengers. Students in EL schools are known well and supported by adults. In EL schools, each student is known well by at least one adult within the school. One structure for developing this relationship—and supporting students socially, emotionally, and academically—is crew.

The structure of crew allows for relationship building, academic progress monitoring, and character development. Crew allows students to build positive connections with their peers and with their crew leader. Crew leaders strategically plan crew to address and assess these multiple goals. Multi-year relationships are also forged in other school structures (e.g., multi-age classrooms, looping) to ensure that students’ needs are met and individual strengths are discovered. Outside of school, mentoring, internships, and apprenticeships foster relationships between students and community members.

In some EL Schools, crew is a required, credit-based class. It meets for a minimum of 2.5 hours per week with opportunities to expand this time within the flexible block schedule as needs arise. Crews are either single grade or multi-grade groups, and many crew advisors stay with the same crew for two to four years. Ideally, crew size does not exceed 16 students. Crew sessions are generally scheduled for maximum attendance, avoiding the beginning and end of each school day. Generally, all faculty members are crew leaders, and sometimes school leaders also guide a crew. 

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