High School


We aspire to help each student achieve the following learning outcomes by the time they graduate from our program, which we believe will help graduates find success in college, careers and life.

We describe our High School program as an expedition-based learning experience. We start with a solid academic foundation that rivals the best private schools in the Bay Area. Next we move our students beyond traditional classrooms with a hands-on, project-based approach. We focus on fun and engaging problem-solving challenges – called Learning Expeditions – that extend the definition of a classroom out to the real world. It’s much, much more than occasional field trips or travel-abroad programs. Our High School students spend 30+ days in the field, actively engaging with experts on incredible projects and adventures that challenge them in unexpected ways.

Fluency in STEAM

In order to be prepared for the future professions, TEA students develop an understanding of the fundamentals of “STEAM” (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics). With the help of teachers and experts and the engagement with a STEAM heavy curriculum, students learn how to produce usable scientific data, develop a creative mindset, understand the design process to solve problems systematically, gain a solid grasp of fundamental math concepts and skills, and comprehend the interdisciplinary nature of these subject areas.


Critical Thinking, Persuasive Communication Skills and Multimedia Know how

Critical thinking is fostered throughout core and enrichment subjects alike, as students are empowered to ask why, to question everything and to make educated, thoughtful choices in their lives. To provide students with the foundations they need to express their thoughts and opinions, rigorous coursework in the humanities, including literature, reading, creative writing, art and music, help students learn powerful storytelling and narrative techniques that serve them well in any field of study. Students also learn how to speak well before a wide range of audiences and to produce a variety of multimedia content in order to share their messages beyond the school walls and to have larger impact on the world.


Multicultural Understanding of History, Creativity and Action in the Arts and Humanities

By gaining a solid liberal arts education in history, arts and the humanities, students are able to recognize global trends patterns, comprehend diverse perspectives and acquire a clear sense of where humans have come from as a species. From geography to history to economics to foreign language to the arts, students become well-versed in social, artistic, political, economic, religious, geographic, environmental and ethical constructs. A sound understanding in these intellectual areas informs their interactions with the world and enables them to take direct action to create authentic products and inspires them to engage with and advocate for other human beings through service and real world work.


Strength of Character

Character development and leadership training are important elements for academic achievement, social emotional learning and ethical development. At TEA, “We are crew, not passengers, who do good for ourselves and for others.” Each student is a member of a crew, which are small, supportive groups, where each student is known well and engages in the proactive cultivation of character and leadership. In Crew, students learn how to meet adversity head on and have the courage to “survive and thrive” when things get tough and when more than book smarts are required. Through ongoing and integrated adventure, service and fieldwork, students learn how to calculate and manage risk and show resilience.


Citizenship and Service

At TEA, citizenship, service and ‘doing good’ are not add ons or afterthoughts, but are embedded into all facets of the program and ingrained in daily school life. Truly, TEA students learn how to show compassion and empathy, to become stewards of the land and to advocate for themselves as well as others in their own back yards and beyond.


World View and Appreciation for the Natural World

TEA students are experts in adventure, fieldwork and learning by doing. By spending 20-30 days and nights in the field each year on multiple day and overnight trips, TEA students gain comfort and connectivity with diverse people and societies, the world around them and the ability to navigate it. They work with industry experts and professionals in real world work and tackle real world problems in the process. By traveling locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, students gain the benefits of having a firsthand understanding of the world, gaining a deep understanding of subject matter and learning what to do when things go wrong, as much as when things go right.


Creative Problem Solvers

To create solutions for real world problems, students engage with projects and courses of study that enable them to think critically and work outside of the classroom walls. By doing the work of professionals alongside industry experts and by applying their learning in meaningful ways, students learn how to apply, synthesize, evaluate and create. Over the course of their study, TEA students develop a strong portfolio of work that shows what they are capable of doing – something that will serve them well for college and beyond. As importantly, students develop a growth mindset when approaching complex issues, develop lasting understanding of content and skills and become the kinds of individuals who embrace challenges head on and who can overcome adversity with both grace and humility.

Making a Positive Impact in the World


High School Weekly Schedule

In the fall of 2016, the senior class of Tahoe Expedition Academy was asked to design a class service trip on their own. As a crew, they decided that with the turmoil in the Middle East and the refugee crisis in Europe, they would travel to Greece to volunteer with PRAKSIS, a non governmental organization that provides social and medical services for refugees. The goal of the trip was to understand and help refugees forced to flee their own country to find safety elsewhere.

At the culmination their Learning Expedition titled “Move, Adapt, or Die: The Life and Times of a Syrian Refugee,” students produced this short documentary film, which illustrates the challenges of current Syrian refugees in Greece. They also created a Facebook page to spread awareness of the plight of refugees in Greece and to support the PRAKSIS aid organization and all of the volunteers they met along the way. If you are interested in supporting PRAKSIS, their donation portal is here with details on how your support would be used. praksis.gr/en/donate

The High School schedule is designed to provide for ample amount of Foundations classes as well as integrated Learning Expedition time, Crew time, electives and free choice for students. To view a sample schedule, click here


These classes are directly aligned with National Standards for the core content areas (Math, Science, History, English). These classes include individually-paced opportunities as well as one-on-one and small group instruction. Teachers target specific skills within these classes to support Learning Expeditions through foundational class content. These courses are integrated into the Learning Expeditions and taught with a two-year looping cycle.

9th and 10th Grade Courses

9th and 10th grade students will participate in the following courses: Physical Science, Math (students will be placed into a math class based on their previous math course. On the first day of school, students will complete a baseline test to ensure they are in the appropriate course), Human Geography, English Literature and Composition.


11th and 12th Grade Courses

11th and 12th grade students will participate in the following courses: Applied Physics & Engineering, Math (students will be placed into a math class based on their previous math course. On the first day of school, students will complete a baseline test to ensure they are in the appropriate course), U.S. Government and English (Creative Fiction & Nonfiction Writing)


LICCS (Life in College & Career Seminar)

These are required, age and developmentally-appropriate life and college skills seminars aimed at preparing students for succeeding beyond high school. Parent and community members will be tapped as experts and facilitators of LICCS, but each seminar series will be directed by TEA faculty. Seminar examples include, but are not limited to: health education, PSAT-SAT-ACT test prep, writing conventions (MLA, APA, etc.), social media safety, college counseling and career planning, budgeting and personal finance.


Learning Intensives

These courses are an essential component of both student choice and academic support. Intensives are courses lasting from five to eight days in which students are engaged in either an in-depth study of a topic or intensive academic support. They are offered at the end of the fall semester so that students failing one or more courses have the opportunity and support to complete their work. Students passing all courses choose from a menu of multi-grade level intensives.


Learning Expeditions

Semester-long, interdisciplinary curricula that use a topical lens and specific case studies to explore content in depth and engage with real-world learning, problem solving and skills development.


Individual Senior Expeditions

Students in 12th grade create and pursue their own integrated course of study during the last semester of their senior year called the Senior +Impact Study, which tackles a real-world problem. This long-term academic endeavor can involve international travel, language acquisition and volunteerism or other opportunities within respectable and faculty-approved boundaries and is intended to provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate what they are capable of doing and producing to have a positive impact on their lives and the world. The student’s Crew Leader serves as a point person and mentor for this capstone project, which is required for graduation.


Field Studies, Experts and Service

Learning Expeditions embed and integrate field studies, experts and service learning into a larger curriculum unit. Beyond the classroom walls, students engage in acts of service, locally, nationally and globally. During field studies, they collaborate with local organizations, engage with relevant experts and contribute to their community through entrepreneurship and volunteerism. By giving and intentionally directing their efforts, intellect and resources to where it can benefit the greater good, students become active citizens in their communities. Advisors and teachers guide students through this process during their school career, which culminates with a Senior Project.



The Elective Program extends learning beyond the core subject areas and provides opportunities for students to express creativity, to develop artistic skills and to bolster their confidence in the arts, music and design. The elective courses within this program give students the resources and instruction to develop as visual and performing artists. Collectively, the elective program awards students with opportunities to produce authentic work collaboratively and independently, to engage with experts and professionals in this field and to present their work before authentic audiences. Throughout the school year, student performances and art are exhibited and appreciated broadly in Tahoe area communities.


Campus Exits

Weekly opportunities for students to leave campus and pursue topics and activities of their choice. These learning opportunities include: Externships (require establishing a mentor outside of TEA for a specific opportunity (i.e., High Fives Foundation)), Internships (require establishing a mentor within TEA for a specific opportunity (i.e., Teacher’s Assistant)), and Trainings ( Classes and trainings outside of school that allow students to learn specific skills (i.e., WFR, pilot license, boat captain licensure, etc.))