Welcome to Polaris Expeditionary Learning School
Polaris is a K-12 school within Poudre School District that partners with the national education reform model of Expeditionary Learning (EL). Polaris utilizes the 10 Design Principles and 5 Core Practice Benchmarks of Expeditionary Learning to achieve our mission of "developing 21st century learners through rigorous academic course work, high quality adventure experiences, character development, and leadership opportunities." Together—as parents, students, teachers, and staff—we strive to create the ideal learning environment for adolescents. Our K-12 environment supports child and adolescent development, experiential curriculum, life skills, and connections between kids and their community.
Polaris does not serve a specific neighborhood, it is a 100% school of choice program within Poudre School District. Our classes are capped at 18 at the elementary level and hover between 22 - 29 students at the secondary level. The fundamental idea behind Expeditionary Learning is that students learn more by experiencing the world around them. Expeditionary Learning harnesses the students’ natural passion to learn and helps children develop the curiosity, knowledge, skills, and personal qualities they need for successful adulthood. EL describes three "buckets of success" they strive for in their schools and their students, they are as follows:
- Mastery of knowledge and skills
- Producing high quality products and performances that represent "real work"
Colorado standards are utilized to design learning Expeditions across the curriculum at all grade levels. A learning Expedition is defined as "an in depth study, of a compelling topic, over an extended period of time." In essence, we look to study fewer topics in depth in order to deepen our understanding of such topics and to transfer the acquired skills to other topics. This teaching and learning process emphasizes students taking personal responsibility for their learning. In addition to emphasizing personal responsibility for learning, Expeditions allow us to break free from textbook learning within many of our classes, assess students in a variety of ways, and interact with field experts on a consistent basis. Polaris employs assessment tools such as student portfolios, Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing, PARCC exams, self-assessments, and Presentations of Learning to provide a complete picture of student development.
At Polaris, our goals are to:
• Achieve high academic standards as measured by standardized assessments;
• Enhance students’ character development and social responsibility;
• Engage families in the educational process;
• Connect the students within our school to the broader community; and
• Challenge and support students’ inherent curiosity.