If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.
— John Dewey

At Expedition Academy Santa Cruz we believe engagement and deep learning occur when:

  • Students rigorously following their passions and curiosity, not prescribed curriculum standards.

  • Students are free to move in our learning studio, not seated at desks in rigid rows.

  • Guides spend their time asking questions, not lecturing.

  • Students demonstrate their learning using mastery badges, portfolios, and exhibitions...not tests and grades.

  • Students are impelled into real world experiences that require them to assume responsibility and make decisions.

  • Experiences demand that students solve problems with all their faculties (mind, body, spirit).

  • Students are given choice and freedom to personalize their learning pace, content, and environment.

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A typical day at Expedition Academy Santa Cruz is composed of 3 fundamental elements: 

Campfire is a time we gather as a group to share and learn from each other. Campfire is a time for students to practice leadership and communication skills, solve conflicts, recognize achievements, give and receive feedback. Campfire is also a time where guides inspire and equip students for their learning expeditions.  

Essential Skills is a time for students to work at their own pace on their reading, writing, foreign language and math skills.  Students work to meet learning goals they set for themselves.  

Expedition is a time for students to work on extended deep dive projects that are centered around a central theme or question.  Learning expeditions are 6 weeks long, interdisciplinary, are connected to the real world, and require the acquisition and application of new knowledge and skills.  Discover more about the philosophy of learning expeditions on the EXPEDITIONS page.

Who Will Students be Learning with?

Whether it is an expert guest, a subject matter specialist or fellow classmates, our students will have weekly interactions with the inspiring individuals and spaces in and around Santa Cruz.

Guides
This is the main "Teacher" in the studio. They help with Learning Goals, finding resources and are part of the day to day learning process.

Specialists
This is a "Teacher" who assists during the Essential Skills time. They are available one to two days a week for concentrated assistance in Math, Writing and Foreign Language. They help in creating challenging learning goals and work with students and guides to achieve mastery in their core subjects.

Experts
This is a professional in a specific field of study. They will share their knowledge and experiences related to Expeditions. Whether in the field or visiting the studio, experts help bring the real world relevance to the learning process.

Peers
This is a fellow or visiting student. Peers are invaluable partners who can help with Essential Skills or Expedition Action Projects.