Our CommuniTEA

Tahoe Expedition Academy (TEA) was founded in January of 2011, when courageous educators and parents collaborated to create an experiential learning school for children in the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond specifically designed for today’s world. The energy and momentum these individuals generated gave teachers, parents and students alike an opportunity to take education in a new direction. Along with devoted faculty, dedicated Board Members, generous families and eager students, the school opened in September of 2011 with 72 students in Pre-K-8th-grade. Since its inception, TEA has continued to grow and prosper, adding 9th – 12th Grades over the past four years, earning Accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and graduating its first class in 2017, with all six seniors getting into their first choice colleges and earning over $400,000 in merit based scholarships.

When it comes to educating young people, TEA stretches the imagination by teaching outside the walls of a traditional classroom. A TEA education takes students into the breathtaking beauty of the Tahoe Basin and the world beyond the Sierras. Here, students are not confined to a desk or a standard. Instead, they engage in academic adventures, character building and real world adventures designed to push them to the boundaries of their intellectual, social and personal comfort zones, where the learning really happens.

TEA is designing education for today’s world to empower creative problem solvers with a social conscience.

TEA’s educational design, powered by Constructive Adversity®, combines academic excellence, character building, and real world adventures to develop courageous scholars and citizens who thrive in dynamic and challenging environments and who have the compassion, experience and drive to make the world a better place.

TEA focuses on the cultivation of eight essential character-based values enabled and strengthened by incredible teachers and role models, Constructive Adversity® and real experiences.

  • Performance Character Values & Habits of Scholarship
    • Collaboration: learning how to work together in a variety of environments
    • Craftsmanship: attending to the quality of work in the things we create
    • Perseverance: having resilience in the face of adversity
    • Responsibility: taking accountability and ownership for one’s actions and interactions
  • Relational Character Values
    • Empathy: showing the ability to understand and share the feelings of another
    • Stewardship: taking action and care of the environment
    • Advocacy: showing public support for people, causes, and initiatives
    • Gratitude: giving appreciation for one another, ourselves and our environment

1) Constructive Adversity®: TEA’s educational program is centered on this innovative learning theory, designed by TEA’s Co-Founder.

  • Definition: The intentional construction of and engagement with adverse environments in order to build character, promote ethical engagement, and create lasting knowledge and skills. In simpler terms, Constructive Adversity means using intellectual, social and physical challenges to help students engage, grow and thrive.
    • Learn how to excel in dynamic and challenging environments by training in a controlled risk environment.
    • Deepen learning through real world experience, authenticity, and active learning.
    • Create engaging, authentic and meaningful learning experiences that give purpose, relevance, and meaning to every child’s education.


2) Academic Excellence: First and foremost, TEA is an academic institution that prides itself on providing the core content and skills students need to thrive in school and beyond.

  • Principles / Activities:
    • Develop core content and skills for college, career and life readiness.
    • Engage actively in real world learning by working with industry experts, conducting fieldwork and creating authentic products.
    • Work with incredible TEAchers who view the world as a classroom.
  • Learning Outputs:
    • Develop core content and skills for college, career and life readiness.
    • Engage actively in real world learning by working with industry experts, conducting fieldwork and creating authentic products.
    • Work with incredible TEAchers who view the world as a classroom.


3) Character Building: Building character is not an add on at TEA, but rather it is embedded into the Crew’s daily routines, integrated into the academic program and cultivated through direct practice, intention and real world adventures.

  • Principles / Activities:
    • Give back and advocate through service learning and doing good for others.
    • Strengthen critical social emotional learning character traits.
    • Be known well and participate in the CommuniTEA and beyond.
  • Learning Outputs:
    • Positive Intentionality
    • Strength of Character
    • Social Conscience


4) Real World Adventure: This is where the magic happens and the deep, lasting memories are created. Wouldn’t you want to go to a school where Real World Adventure is valued as much as academics?

  • Principles / Activities:
    • Experience learning firsthand through hands-on exploration.
    • Build physical strength, stamina, and ability through active learning.
    • Consistent exposure to numerous cultures, industry experts and facets of nature
  • Learning Outputs:
    • Creative Problem Solvers
    • Healthy and Active Lifestyle
    • World View and Appreciation for the Natural World


5) Positive +Impact: This is why we do what we do – to give young people the know-how, skills, and opportunities to improve their own lives and positively impact the world around them. We do this work now, when students are in their formative years and they are shaping who they are as human beings. We do not prepare students for the future. We prepare them for today.

  • The drive, know-how, and experiences to make a positive impact on one’s own life and the world.
  • Have clear and positive intentions behind our choices and actions.
  • Develop a worldview to have an understanding of life’s larger challenges and opportunities.