The Odyssey School of Denver is based on the EL Education philosophy. Expeditionary Learning was one of seven “break the mold” school designs funded over a five-year period by New American Schools, a 1992 initiative that called for radically new models of education built upon high standards and yielding dramatic improvement in student achievement. There are now about 150 EL Education schools in 29 states nationwide.
The fundamental idea behind EL Education is that students learn more by experiencing the world than by sitting in a classroom listening to a teacher talk about it. EL Education harnesses the child’s natural passion to learn and is a powerful method for helping children develop the curiosity, knowledge, skills, and personal qualities they need for successful adulthood.
Learning Expeditions are long term, in-depth investigations of a topic the engages students in the world with authentic projects, fieldwork and service. They are the heart of the Odyssey School of Denver’s methodology. Although some curricular skills are taught separately, for the most part, students acquire knowledge and skills through learning expeditions that cut across and make connections among disciplines. Each expedition has specific and well-defined academic goals developed from state standards. All expeditions culminate with exhibitions or final products that must meet high standards. These products are the vehicle for students to synthesize what they have learned and to demonstrate how they can use it.