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Expeditionary Learning

Expeditionary Learning is celebrating a 15-year track record of establishing good schools in places where good schools are most needed.

Effective professional development for teachers is the engine that drives improvement in teaching, and there can be no improvement in student learning without better teaching. For this reason, Expeditionary Learning aims to involve all teachers at EL schools in at least 15 to 20 days of professional development a year for at least five years.

Since its early years, Expeditionary Learning Schools has endeavored not only to create good schools, but schools that are more adventurous and rigorous than the norm and that cultivate a positive culture. The ELS approach holds that teaching and learning should be active and challenging; that character development should be as important as academic development; and good habits of mind and behavior should be taught and learned in the process of teaching and learning reading, writing, arithmetic and other academic disciplines.

Expeditionary Learning Schools currently works with more than 160 urban, rural and suburban schools in over 30 states and the District of Columbia; the majority are in low-income communities. Altogether, there are more than 45,000 students and 4,300 teachers in Expeditionary Learning schools today. Of the schools across the country, about one-third are elementary schools; one-third are middle schools and one-third are high schools.

While the work of Expeditionary Learning is supported primarily with fees paid by partner schools and districts, ELS also attracts grants and contracts from foundations and government agencies and contributions from individuals. In 2003, Expeditionary Learning Schools received a grant of $12.6 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help create several new, small public ELS secondary schools across the country. With 17 such schools in operation or planned, in 2007, the Gates Foundation made additional grants of $11 million to help establish more such schools, based on Expeditionary Learning Schools' success with the first group. Expeditionary Learning Schools has also received three long-term, site-specific grants of approximately $1 million each from the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City; the Stuart Foundation in San Francisco, and The Barr Foundation in Boston.

For more information, go to the ELS website:




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