Projects, Multiple Viewpoints and Enacting Positive Change
Our project based approach to teaching and learning frames projects on interdisciplinary, meaningful, and current real world problems. Students have the opportunity to explore current issues by speaking with a diverse range of experts and consulting sources that articulate a variety of viewpoints. Students explore media literacy and critical thinking as they evaluate and make sense of divergent perspectives on the specific issues they choose to dive deeper into, while connecting these issues to curricular content and skills. Speaking with experts and communities impacted by these issues allows them to generate a more nuanced understanding of content, with empathy. By investigating the larger context of the issues they are exploring, students engage in a design process to iterate, prototype and test possible solutions, towards doing or producing positive change. With constant feedback from peers, teachers and experts, students revise, reflect and tell the story of their learning journey, failures, successes and major discoveries.
Making a Positive Impact in the World
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.
HIGH SCHOOL ACADEMIC PROGRAMMING - FOUNDATIONS COURSES
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 Real-World Projects through foundational class content.
9th and 10th-Grade Foundation Courses
9th grade foundation courses: Biology, Integrated Math I (students will be placed into a math class based on their previous math course), Social Studies - Human Geography, English and Language Arts, Spanish I, II, III, IV.
10th grade foundation courses: Chemistry or Physics (depending on math level), Integrated Math II (students will be placed into a math class based on their previous math course) Social Studies - Modern World History, English & Language Arts, Spanish I, II, III, IV.
11th and 12th-Grade Foundation Courses
11th-grade foundation courses: Physics or Earth Science (depending on math level), Integrated Math III (students will be placed into a math class based on their previous math course), Social Studies - U.S. History, English and Language Arts, Spanish I, II, III, IV.
12th grade courses: Earth Science or Chemistry (depending on math level), Calculus or Statistics (students will be placed into a math class based on their previous math course), Social Studies - U.S. Government, English and Language Arts, Spanish I, II, III, IV.
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.
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 Projects
In the spring, students in 12th-grade create and pursue their own integrated course of study during the last semester of their senior year called the Individual Senior Intensive, which tackles a real world problem. This long-term academic endeavor can involve 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.
Field Studies, Experts and Service
Real World Projects 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.