School Experience FAQs
We have nearly 125 students in the 2016-2017 academic year from PreK – 8th grade.
Targeted student-to-teacher ratios are:
- PreK = 7:1
- Kindergarten – 5th Grader = 12-16:1
- 6th Grade – 8th Grade = 16-20:1
Current school-wide student to teacher ratio is 7:1 overall, which includes all full and part-time faculty.
With low student ratios, we will have one of the most “learner centered” educational programs in the country.
While we are in the process of building our new 42 acre campus on the edge of Martis Valley in Truckee, CA where the entire school will be together in one place, we are currently utilizing 3 facilities. Our PreK through 3rd grade program is located in Kings Beach. This building backs up to the Tahoe National Forest. Our 4th through 6th grade program is located in Tahoe Vista at the North Tahoe Hebrew Congregation. This property has ready access to the lake and North Tahoe Regional Park. Our 7th through 8th graders are located adjacent to our soon to be permanent property at off of Schaffer Mill Road in Truckee, CA.
Our specific addresses are:
PreK – 3rd Grades: 8651 Speckled Avenue, Kings Beach, CA.
4th – 6th Grades: 7000 Latone Rd., Tahoe Vista
7th – 8th Grades: 9753 Ellington Lane, Truckee, CA.
Students in grades PreK-6, our Lower School, typically have a limited amount of schoolwork each night. They focus on reading, either with an adult or independently, math, vocabulary and spelling. Students in the Upper School will invariably have academic work to complete at home, though time amounts vary depending on their level of productivity in school and the Learning Expedition and projects / products students are working on at a given time.
It is important to note, however, that the overall goal for students is to use time in school effectively, and we have placed structures in school that allow for students to complete work with support of their Crew Leaders and teachers. Philosophically, we believe time in school is meant to do school work, and time outside of school should be primarily reserved and utilized for clubs, athletics, play, personal interests and spending time with family and friends. If a student has difficulty managing the amount of academic work at home, then the student and/or family may present this issue to the Crew Leader who will work to find a resolution.
We encourage our students to be confident and skilled with the use of technology, and our project-based curriculum promotes interaction with computer-based technology while performing research, collecting and analyzing data, composing written works, delivering presentations and the creating of art. Other forms of technology are integrated into the curriculum in the form of models and tools, both scientific and otherwise. Moreover, students design and create real products, like apps and videos, that utilize technology and computer science and facilitate their understanding of this subject area.
In the Lower School, we recognize the importance of technology as a necessary tool in today’s world and we balance this with our hands-on, experiential philosophy. We accomplish this by providing experiences for students to build technological skills incrementally as they grow. Students as young as first grade begin to type and publish their writing about their expedition topics. In fourth and fifth grade, the use of technology ramps up when students have access to chrome books and laptops in the classroom on a daily basis. These students can be found researching and writing about their expedition topics on computers as well as applying their understanding of green building by designing buildings on the computer. These skills continue grow as is developmentally appropriate until students in sixth grade spend a significant portion of their day creating powerpoint presentations, utilizing Google Classroom, doing adaptive math and reading practice and much more.
Students who have a desire to learn more have the opportunity to seek additional technological instruction in our STEAM classes, guilds and after school clubs. In these offerings kindergarteners can learn the basics of coding, third graders create and program simple robots and sixth graders program Arduinos to do a multitude of tasks.
In addition to a curriculum that naturally brings in physical education through interaction with the outdoors, traditional PE classes are offered for Kindergarten thru 8th grade during the school day. Further, we have athletic teams and After-School Clubs that involve physical activity such as mountain biking, archery, yoga, golf and lacrosse as well as a Ski Local Program in the winter that encourages skiing or snowboarding.
We are an independent, PreK-8th grade Expeditionary Learning school which focuses on the practical application of content and skills in project-based learning environment. Tahoe Expedition Academy does not believe that primary learning comes only from a textbook. We do not teach to the test; rather, we teach to character and real-life applications of academics. We prepare students in an entrepreneurial spirit so that they can become innovators in tomorrow’s world.
We have an amazing Student Support Services team within our school. The team has extensive experience assessing, identifying, counseling and recommending accommodations and interventions for different learning styles. We assess each applicant individually to ensure we can appropriately accommodate their needs.
We expect respectful and appropriate behavior from our students, parents and teachers. We are proactive about discipline and behavior by teaching Character Values on a daily basis and maintaining high expectations for all members of our CommuniTEA. If behavior becomes a problem from students, we have a clear protocol outlined in our Student and Parent Handbook, which is updated each year and signed by each student and family.
Absolutely! We believe that Adventure Education is key to a child’s experiential education and take advantage of excellent opportunities to expand our student’s knowledge through trips away from the classroom environment. This is not a comprehensive list, but should give you an idea of potential off-site field studies:
- Kindergarten and First Grade: Taylor Creek, Animal Ark, Chickadee Ridge, Spooner Lake & Tyrolean Beaver Ponds
- Second Grade and Third Grade: Wilbur May Museum, Sand Harbor, Truckee River Oxbow, Lahontan Fish Hatchery & Grover Hot Springs
- Fourth Grade and Fifth Grade: Chaw Se – Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park, Yosemite – Saddlebag Lake, Brockway Summit – Tahoe Rim Trail, Donner Memorial and Summit & Nevada Museum of Art
- Middle School: Red Rock Canyon, Squaw Valley USA, Tahoe Rim Trail & San Francisco
Safety and risk management are our first priorities. We have at least one trip leader with a WFR (Wilderness First Responder) certification on each outing. All trips have a pre-visit reconnaissance so that risks can be identified and venue specific itineraries can be developed. We have emergency and evacuation plans for backcountry trips and focus on the ability to maintain communication. As sometimes we do not have cell service, we carry a satellite phone.
TEA practices Mastery-Based (Standards-Based) grading to assess, evaluate and report on each student’s academic progress, growth and performance. Mastery based assessment is rapidly being recognized as best practice in education and we are proud to be at the forefront of this movement. We use JumpRope, a cloud based numeric grading and reporting system, to archive and communicate each student’s academic achievement over the course of the semester and year. Mastery-Based grading uses a 1 to 4 scale, where a 1 indicates that the student has significant room to grow, 2 shows that the student is working toward end of the year expectations, 3 indicates that the student meets grade level standards, and 4 shows that the student exceeds grade level expectations. These grade reports are available online in real time throughout the year and are sent home to families at the end of each quarter.
We evaluate each candidate based our three primary pillars: academics, character and adventure. Our multi-faceted admissions process allows us to interact with the student in a variety of settings and provides us with substantial information about these areas. Further, we admit students from families who demonstrate a commitment in our educational approach and support our school’s Vision and Mission.
We are looking for adventuresome, courageous and community-minded students of demonstrated motivation, ability and character who will contribute to Tahoe Expedition Academy beyond the classroom and into the field, where they will meet with experts and take their learning to another level. We are a school where teachers believe in the potential of every student. Together we work to build and sustain a community of learners who demonstrate respect for oneself, others and the natural environment. Other questions our admissions team considers when evaluating applicants are:
- Is the applicant ready for us, and are we ready for them?
- Are they capable of being successful in our learning environment; can we challenge and support them, recognizing their needs as an individual learner?
- Does the applicant demonstrate strong character and the potential for leadership?
- Will the family partner with the school in supporting the needs of the student?
With low student to teacher class sizes, we choose our acceptances carefully. The number of students admitted depends on the quality of the applicants and the availability in existing classes.
When a family accepts an offer of admission, they are asked to provide a deposit equal to 15% of tuition.
While we value our longstanding relationships with sibling and current / past families, we cannot guarantee admission to students based on a prior association with Tahoe Expedition Academy. Sibling and legacy candidates must undergo the same admission process as all other applicants and will be admitted based on merit.
In addition to our all school camping trip and class parties near the beginning of school in August, we host an all school orientation opportunity where parents and students can ask questions, meet other families and see classrooms.
Tahoe Expedition Academy firmly believes that the cost of tuition should not preclude families from considering an independent school education for their child. TEA dedicates significant resources to providing need-based financial assistance to families from all cultural, racial and socioeconomic groups.
No. Application for admission and application for financial assistance are separate processes and students are admitted or “accepted” based exclusively on their ability to meet the criteria for admission
Families must reapply for financial aid for each year the student is enrolled at TEA. Frequently, a family’s award will remain the same with an increase to offset any rise in tuition. In some cases, a family’s financial circumstances may change over the course of the year which might be reflected in the new award.