Newsletter #7 - Personalized Learning

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As Applications begin to roll in for the 2018-2019 academic year, we have been receiving questions about our Personalized Learning or Essential Skills time. The beginning of each day at Expedition Academy Santa Cruz starts with a group Campfire followed by Essential Skills where students work on their personal learning goals before lunch. At the heart of Essential Skills is the student. Students choose which topic(s) they want to focus on each day, set their goals for the day, week, month, etc. and truly own their learning progress.  

Upcoming Events

OPEN HOUSE this Saturday - March 24th

On Saturday, March 24th, we will be hosting our third Open House event for prospective families. We look forward to giving parents and their eligible children a glimpse into the Expedition Academy Santa Cruz experience.

Reserve your family ticket on Eventbrite!

Screening: Most Likely to Succeed

We are hosting a screening of the critically acclaimed education documentary Most Likely To Succeed ( for parents interested in learning more about the changing landscape in education. The film will be followed by a discussion and Q&A with the founders.  Come meet the founders of Expedition Academy Santa Cruz and discover a new way to learn!  

General News

Essential Skills time at Expedition Academy Santa Cruz is different than independent study and is our own unique model of what is typically referred to as Personalized Learning. Essential Skills does involve students working on their own and at their own pace using a variety of online tools or physical resources. This time also involves the Guide who helps students create and track their learning goals as well as selecting the correct tools for the job. There are also peers available during this time, we do not want students to think that they have to sit silently by themselves and never interact with their classmates, quite the contrary. We envision learning groups tackling common learning goals, peer reviews of finished work, learning discussions and peer tutoring also being a major part of the Essential Skills time. Another key difference to our Essential Skills time is the incorporation of Specialists. Specialists in Math, Writing and Foreign Language will visit the studio regularly to work with students individually or in small groups on key concepts related to learning goals. Specialists will work with the Guides to identify key areas that students need to master in order to accelerate their learning and will be instrumental in the student goal setting process. 

So, what does Personalized Learning look like? Check out our resources below.

Stay Informed: News and Ideas


Every student will be working toward their own individual learning goals during Essential Skills time. Here is a great example of the power of adaptive learning tools that meet students where they are and assist them in accelerating at their own pace.


Khan Academy

Many people know Khan Academy as an independent Math learning tool. Sal Khan has not only expanded his content offerings but has also created a school, Khan Lab School, around the principles of Personalized Learning.  We are looking forward to visiting the Khan Lab School next month as part of a special program sponsored by our supporter Silicon Schools Fund.

We do not see online tools being a stand alone replacement of teaching. We want students to learn how to use all kinds of educational resources to attain their learning goals. The combination of Essential Skills and interdisciplinary Expeditions are what we see as a path to success for 21st Century learners.