The Washington Island School District Board of Education voted unanimously (4-0) Thursday to switch up the curriculum and become an expeditionary learning (EL) school beginning next school year.
Superintendent Tim Raymond says the district is intrigued by the idea and is currently in an exploratory year. Various teachers have visited EL schools in Wisconsin and Colorado and in April two more teachers will head to North Carolina to see how they operate.
Kindergarten through second grade teacher Margaret Foss has visited three EL schools and says one of the driving initiatives at EL schools is the “expedition.”
Students attend regular classes while working together on different aspects of the expedition. Foss says it’ll take a lot of initial work and collaboration among the teachers to assure all standards are being met through the expeditions while giving students a sense of relevancy.
Foss is convinced expeditionary learning is a worthy model and is pleased with the board’s approval of the switch. EL school designers will visit the school this spring to get the change rolling and Foss says the teachers will spend time together over the summer writing expeditions into their curricula.
The district will join ten other EL schools in Wisconsin and a network of 65 schools in 30 states. Washington Island teachers will be able to gather expedition ideas and share experiences and lessons learned with other EL schools, says Foss.