What is Curvd Learning and what are Curveballs at TEA?

At Tahoe Expedition Academy, we’ve taught students healthy risk-taking since our inception in 2011.

For years we’ve informally been working on ways to codify our teaching approaches around healthy risk-taking and our concept of Constructive Adversity. That work has included an ongoing collaboration with the Martis Valley Education Foundation (MVEF) to develop and share with educators across the country research-backed teaching practices that encourage collaboration, adaptability and perseverance in students. With MVEF focused on campus development, a new organization, Curvd Learning, was created in 2019 to fulfill the original desire to share with other educators the magic of TEA. TEA Program Director Mara Jenkins and Instructional Guide Laura Quarin are guiding the process and serving as conduits between TEA and Curvd Learning. This partnership allows TEA to focus on delivering on the promise to our students, while Curvd drives our original vision of sharing those practices and strategies so that all students across the country can learn to adapt and thrive.

Curvd’s top priority is to help schools increase student agency through teaching strategies like mastery-based grading, creative problem solving and self-reflection. Curvd, alongside TEA, is advocating for a teaching approach that challenges students’ critical thinking through tools like “Curveballs” designed to lead them through healthy risk-taking, observe what didn’t work and adapt to change course.

If you’re a TEA middle school parent, then this is all very familiar. This past year we began to present our middle school students with progressively more challenging real-world adversity “Curveballs” throughout their project work, intentionally asking them to adapt, iterate, face ambiguity and learn from their mistakes — thus becoming more prepared for the unexpected in the future. This work informs Curvd’s Adaptable Lab program, which began at our middle school last year. In partnership with Curvd we are now formally developing and codifying new curricular tools and frameworks for teaching adaptability and perseverance — in and out of the classroom.

This collaboration between Curvd and TEA is a free of charge collaboration focused on the sharing of ideas. Further, it gives more horsepower to creating real-world experiences for our students in the classroom. And, it allows us to focus on our students while sharing our ideas and tools for the benefit of the greater good.

For more about Curveballs at TEA, check out the video below. For more about Curvd Learning, visit their website.

Curveballs at TEA Video