An Expedition is a journey undertaken with a purpose. At Expedition Academy Santa Cruz students will engage in a series of learning Expeditions that will build upon each other as the year progresses. An Expedition is an extended deep dive project that is centered around a central theme or question. Learning Expeditions are 6 weeks long, interdisciplinary, connected to the real world, and require the acquisition and application of new knowledge and skills.
Each Expedition will follow the Expedition Learning Cycle:
Discovery: A process that combines curiosity and exploration that leads to students defining the purpose and guiding questions of each Expedition.
Training: Students identify and gather new information and skills they will need to move forward in answering their guiding questions.
Action Project: An Expedition culminates with students producing a product, performance, experiment, exhibition, etc that demonstrates and synthesizes a students' learning experience. While every expedition will have an independent action project for each student, many of our expeditions have an additional group project where students will collaborate with team members on a larger project goal.
Reflection: Students reflect on their learning process--skills and knowledge gained, challenges overcome, discoveries that led to new questions, lessons to apply to the next Expedition, etc.
One of the unique attributes of Expedition Academy Santa Cruz will be the use of outdoor expeditions at key junctures of each school year. An outdoor expedition at the beginning of the school year will serve to set the tone for the learning environment for the whole school year. First Expedition is the seed from which the school culture will grow and blossom. First Expedition will be 3 days at Little Basin in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
First Expedition will be how students are introduced to: Campfire (our term for gathering in a circle)-the basic environment for sharing and learning as a group, essential group communication skills, leadership responsibilities and service to others, reflection as part of the learning process, craftsmanship/attention to detail/mindfulness in all that we undertake, and attitudes of the mind and habits of behavior required to face challenges.
Final Expedition will serve as the culminating experience for the school year. Final Expedition is an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on individual and group growth over the course of the school year, and as a rite of passage for the oldest students who are moving on to the next adventure in their life. Final Expedition will be completely planned and executed by students. Final Expedition could be located in a more remote location such as Point Reyes National Seashore, Los Padres National Forest (Big Sur) or Yosemite.