Four Rivers is affiliated with Expeditionary Learning Schools, a non-profit organization devoted to providing a highly-respected model of comprehensive school reform. Expeditionary Learning emphasizes high achievement through active learning, character growth, and teamwork. Its extensive professional development program provides Four Rivers teachers with powerful instructional methods to strengthen student learning, as well as opportunities to share best practices with an expanding network of over 130 Expeditionary Learning schools across the country.
Expeditionary Learning (EL) promotes five Core Practices:
- Learning Expeditions: These challenging, interdisciplinary, real-world projects engage students in actively applying their knowledge and skills in ways that serve both their learning and their community. Through learning expeditions, students work on core academic standards, critical thinking and literacy skills, and craftsmanship while creating authentic products that are useful or necessary to others.
- Active Pedagogy: In EL schools, students are collaborative and active learners who develop skills as inventors, designers, and problem-solvers. They learn to make connections, find patterns, see events from multiple perspectives, experiment, formulate questions, and develop empathy and compassion for others. Active pedagogy means students are actively involved in their learning experiences.
- School Culture and Character: As an EL school, Four Rivers builds traditions and practices that support and strengthen the values we hold as a school community. Through our crews – small groups of 10-12 students with an advisor – we work to create a climate of physical and emotional safety. Faculty and students work together to be keepers of the school’s norms and culture through community- building, service to others and a commitment to high quality work and behavior.
- Leadership and School Improvement: Leaders in EL schools create a professional community that focuses on curriculum and instruction as the primary vehicles for improving student achievement and school culture.
- School Structures: EL schools use longer and more flexible schedule blocks, common planning time, heterogeneous groupings or looping to ensure student success.
Four Rivers has contributed significantly to the EL network by sharing exemplary models of our teaching practices and Learning Expeditions. Four Rivers teachers have presented at annual Expeditionary Learning National Conferences, and examples of Four Rivers products and assessment methods have been shown at many new and developing EL schools.
For more information, visit the EL website: www.elschools.org