Polaris

Expeditionary Learning School

Classrooms/How We Learn

Students at Polaris learn the Colorado State Standards through the use of "Expeditions" throughout the school year. An Expedition is simply an "in depth study of a compelling topic over an extended period of time." So rather than exposing students to a wide range of topics that may follow a linear path via a textbook, students at Polaris study fewer topics but go more in depth.

This method of teaching demands a lot of our instructors for they are continually modifying their curriculum so that the materials and projects are as engaging as possible.  Student engagement may also be increased through the novelty of any given task, the authentic nature of primary source documents, or the opportunity to work collaboratively with others. Because of the high level of engagement throughout the school it is not uncommon to encounter lively classrooms that are filled with passionate debate or problem-solving.
Perhaps most important is our focus on learning instead of achievement.  Although we are proud of our performance on traditional measures we see the results as a byproduct of our learning, not as a goal for the school.