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Expeditionary Learning

Expeditionary Learning (EL) is celebrating a 15-year track record of establishing good schools in places where such schools are most needed.

Effective professional development for teachers is the engine that drives improvement in teaching, and there can be no improvement in student learning without better teaching. For this reason, Expeditionary Learning aims to involve all teachers at EL schools in at least 15 to 20 days of professional development a year, for at least five years.

Since its early years, Expeditionary Learning has endeavored not only to create highly effective schools, but schools that are more adventurous and rigorous than the norm, and that cultivate a positive culture. The EL approach holds that teaching and learning should be active and challenging; that character development should be as important as academic development; that good habits of mind and behavior should be taught and learned in the processes of teaching and learning reading, writing, arithmetic and other academic disciplines.

Expeditionary Learning currently works with more than 150 urban, rural, and suburban schools in 30 states and the District of Columbia; the majority are in low-income communities. Altogether, there are currently more than 45,000 students and 4,300 teachers in Expeditionary Learning schools. Of the schools across the country, about one-third are elementary schools, one-third are middle schools, and one-third are high schools.

While the work of Expeditionary Learning is supported primarily with fees paid by partner schools and districts, EL also attracts grants and contracts from foundations and government agencies, and contributions from individuals. In 2003, Expeditionary Learning received a grant of $12.6 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help create several new, small, public EL secondary schools across the country. With 17 such schools in operation or planned, in 2007, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation made additional grants of $11 million to help establish more schools, based on Expeditionary Learning's success with the round of schools. Expeditionary Learning has also received three, long-term, site-specific grants of approximately $1 million from each of the following: the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, the Stuart Foundation in San Francisco, and The Barr Foundation in Boston.

For more information, please visit the EL website: www.elschools.org

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