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EL Education was born out of a collaboration between The Harvard Graduate School of Education and Outward Bound USA. What started as a concept has grown into a movement. Our mission, now as then, is to create classrooms where teachers can fulfill their highest aspirations and students achieve more than they think possible, becoming active contributors to building a better world.

Your Curriculum Companion Published

Your Curriculum Companion explores the foundations of the EL Education K–5 Language Arts Curriculum curriculum, including the principles and research it was built on and the instructional practices that make it unique. The book is designed to help teachers “look under the hood” at practices embedded throughout the curriculum.

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Curriculum Success

EL Education’s open-source literacy curriculum is downloaded more than 8.7 million times across 44 states. A new K-5 edition is released in collaboration with Open Up Resources.

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EL Education Schools Exemplify How to Help Children Succeed

In his book Helping Children Succeed, author Paul Tough describes two schools in the EL Education network—Polaris Charter Academy in Chicago and Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (WHEELS) in New York City (part of the NYC Outward Bound Schools network)—as places where the environment and experience of school builds character and cultivates success for all students.

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Learning That Lasts Published

Learning that Lasts presents an accessible new vision for classroom instruction that sharpens and deepens the quality of student learning. The book shares what works in some of the nation’s most successful public schools— EL Education schools that are beating the odds to create remarkable achievement—located primarily in urban and rural low-income communities.

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EL Education Curriculum Success

EL Education’s open-source Grades 3 through 8 English Language Arts curriculum is downloaded more than 4 million times. It receives the highest ratings by EQuiP (Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products) and the States of Connecticut and Washington. The curriculum is now used in 39 states and the District of Columbia.

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The Center for Student Work becomes Models of Excellence

Using exemplars has long been a cornerstone practice of EL Education’s work and so EL adopts the new name to clearly describe what the site contains and promotes. It also correlates directly with the "High-Quality Student Work" Dimension of Student Achievement.

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Partner with Denver Public Schools

Denver Public School District chooses EL as a partner to provide the curriculum for grades 4 through 8 in 2015-16. The district uses EL Education’s ELA Common Core curriculum for approximately 18,000 students and EL's professional learning for more than 600 teachers and administrators.

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New Name, Same Mission

Expeditionary Learning launches its new name, “EL Education.”

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Transformational Literacy released

Shortly thereafter, EL releases Transformational Literacy , a great companion to EL's grades 3-8 ELA curriculum that deepens understanding about the Common Core instructional shifts, curriculum decisions, and includes videos to support teachers’ learning.

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Expanding to 150+ Schools

EL Education’s school network comprises more than 150 schools in 33 states, serving 4,000 teachers and 53,000 students. EL Education expands beyond its school network to offer professional development to school districts nationally, focusing on literacy and assessment.

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Michelle Obama joins 'College March'

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama joins an EL high school in Washington, D.C. for its College March to the post office, an annual EL tradition for high school seniors to mail college applications and for younger students, school communities, and families to celebrate their progress.

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President Recognizes EL Education

U.S. President Barack Obama recognizes Washington Heights, New York’s EL Education school student Estiven Rodriguez, in his State of the Union Address. He spotlights EL’s “great teachers” and the school’s College March .

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NYC Chooses EL Education

New York City recommends EL Education's English Language Arts curriculum for selection by principals across the city in Grades 3 through 8.

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$12 Million Grant

EL Education is awarded a $12 million Investing in Innovation grant from the federal government to demonstrate a nationally scalable model of professional learning for teachers.

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Learning Growth Gains

In a statistically significant study, Mathematica Policy Research finds that EL middle school students gain an additional ten months of learning growth in math and seven months in reading after three years.

New York Commissions EL Education Curriculum

New York State commissions EL Education to develop a model Common Core-aligned, open-source curriculum for English Language Arts and Literacy in Grades 3 through 8.

EL Commons Launched

EL launches EL Commons, which uses technology to support collaboration and best practice sharing across EL’s network of schools.

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Education Secretary Visit

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visits King Middle School in Portland, Maine, and spotlights an EL program in which students tackle 8- to 10-week field projects. Duncan remarks, “Expeditionary Learning is how kids want to learn.”

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All College Bound

In 10 new EL high schools, 100% of graduating seniors receive college acceptance letters.

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2009
2004

College Prep High Schools Open

EL partners with districts and charter boards to open new college-preparatory high schools in low-income communities, using start-up professional development funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

2001-2002

Top Ranking by American Youth Policy Forum

American Youth Policy Forum finds that EL Education ranks in the highest tier for service-learning among 28 national school models; key elements include “students applying their knowledge and skills to real life projects,” and “developing students’ civic skills.” The National Staff Development Council identifies EL as the only program of 26 studied to meet all 27 standards for high quality professional development.

1999

New Focused Literacy Approach

EL builds a new approach based on focused literacy instruction, working with Denver’s Public Education &
Business Coalition and other national experts to support schools within and beyond the network.

1998

Rand: “Deeply and With Fidelity”

A Rand Corporation study shows that EL schools implement the model “deeply and with fidelity.” The study suggests that EL's strong structures enable it to scale its model for learning across the country.

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1996

Direct to Districts and Schools

New American Schools funding ends, and EL’s partnerships are contracted directly through districts and schools.

1993

Funding Renewed, Schools Opened

New American Schools renews EL’s funding, and 10 EL schools open in New York City, Boston, Portland (ME), Denver, and Dubuque.

1991

A New Schooling Model

The Harvard Graduate School of Education joins Outward Bound USA to create a new model of schooling: Expeditionary Learning. The EL model receives start-up funding by the New American Schools federal initiative. Only the top 1% of proposals received funding.

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