Tour 1 – “Impact on Student Learning” (Explorer Academy and Huntington East Middle School)
EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning) schools are models of comprehensive school reform based on the educational ideas of German educator Kurt Hahn, the founder of Outward Bound. There are more than 150 Expeditionary Learning Schools in 30 US states and the District of Columbia. They are exemplified by project-based learning expeditions, where students engage in interdisciplinary, in-depth study of compelling topics, in groups and in their community, with assessment coming through cumulative products, public presentations, and portfolios. Explorer Academy is the first EL Education School in West Virginia, opening its doors in August 2015. The staff and administrators spent two years training and implementing EL Education practices prior to opening the school.
Huntington East Middle School (HEMS) is the feeder middle school for Explorer Academy. The HEMS staff embraced a professional services agreement with EL Education in August 2015 to incorporate the culture practices and learning target protocol throughout the school, paving the way for a smooth transition for Explorer Academy students entering the school as sixth graders in August 2016. The school continues to explore additional aspects of EL Education as they grow in their understanding of this school reform model.
Tour 2 - “Career Readiness” (Cabell Midland High School Career Academies and Barboursville Middle School Career Literacy)
This tour will accentuate how Cabell County is preparing its students for life after high school. Cabell Midland High School is the largest school campus in the state of West Virginia and has been implementing an academy model since 2010. The current academies include Health Sciences, Fine Arts (both performing and visual), Childcare and Teaching, Law and Legal and Agri-Science. In addition to these career academies, Cabell Midland High School focuses on transition to high school with a very active ninth grade academy. In 2016, Barboursville Middle, a Cabell Midland High School feeder, implemented Career Literacy to assist with the career readiness initiative. Participants will see how literacy can be used to enhance a career-readiness initiative to prepare the workforce of the future.
Tour 3 – “EL Education” (Highlawn Elementary and Explorer Academy)
Imagine a learning environment where children are encouraged to discover themselves as they face challenges; learn and grow from defeat in a setting that embraces collaboration, discovery and community; where nature and the arts are embraced and students learn to become stewards of the earth. EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning) embraces these values and core practices while providing students with a rigorous curriculum that connects learning to real-world issues and needs. Guests are invited to discover the world of EL Education in action by visiting two EL Education Schools in Cabell County. Explorer Academy began their journey as a K-5 EL Education School in the 2014-15 school year. Both teachers and administrators have been engaged in learning the core principles and curriculum for more than two years and take great pride in putting their learning into practice. Highlawn Elementary began in the 2015-16 school year in grades 3-5. Both schools are on the same path, but at different points along the journey. Participants will witness EL Education at its best-with real life teachers and children interacting, discovering and learning in two very diverse schools.