Expeditionary Learning Schools/Outward Bound (EL)
EL is a national organization that partners with boards of new and existing charter schools in urban, rural and suburban districts. Based on the core principals of Outward Bound, EL uses a rigorous approach to teaching designed to improve student achievement, build student character, enhance teacher practices, and instill a positive school culture. The ELS approach promotes an engaging curriculum; active, inquiry-based pedagogy; integrated arts; and a school culture that teaches compassion and good citizenship.
At the heart of EL are learning expeditions,interdisciplinary units aligned with Common Core standards. The EL approach to learning is experiential and project-based, involving students in original research - with experts from a variety of field - to create high-quality products for audiences beyond the classroom.
The EL approach to teaching has been proven effective by third-party research groups such as the Rand Corporation, the Academy for Educational Development, the American Institutes for Research and the National Staff Development Council. For more information about Expeditionary Learning, please contact an SBCS administrator or visit elschools.org.
Our Partnership with Expeditionary Learning
Southwest Baltimore Charter School began a partnership with Expeditionary Learning in the 2008-2009 school year. Teachers implement semester-long learning expeditions as a means of framing curriculum and engaging students in in-depth studies of science and social studies that lead to enduring understanding. Each Expedition is developed using local and/or topics that are compelling to different age ranges of students. Expeditions are based on specific learning goals prioritized by the Maryland State Department of Education and Common Core Standards. Learning Expeditions result in high quality student products and projects that display students’ understanding of meaningful learning in literature, math, art, health, music, and history. Beyond Learning Expeditions, SBCS focuses on several other areas of EL implementation including; culture and character structures, active pedagogy, workshop model instruction, student-engaged assessment, and writing. Our intensive curriculum design requires additional and ongoing training for our teachers and para-professionals. Each Friday, SBCS closes at 1:00 p.m. to allow our teachers to participate in two hours of specialized professional development. This extra-effort has built a strong relationship between our school and our staff that is reflected in a high rate of teacher retention and excellent quality classroom instruction.