Updated: Feb 22
From the beginning at Exploration High School, there have been three crucial principles that ground our work in reimagining high school:
To empower students - guided by learning facilitators - to chart their own path to accomplishment, consistent with their personal goals.
To recognize community in all we do and ensure that, in our student’s journey to adulthood, they serve those communities with passion and fresh thinking.
To focus less on rote memorization of facts within a narrowly defined academic discipline and instead bring together learning across these disciplines in an integrated fashion that better reflects the way the real world works.
These elements come together in a critical part of the ExHS experience: Public Exhibitions of Learning. Our first-ever (!) celebration of learning took place on January 20th. As much as we wanted to be in-person, this was a virtual event with families.
During this Exhibition, our Explorers tackled a self-selected Community Asset Project (CAP) that brought together all their accomplishments since school started.
Each Explorer identified a design problem for social change within a defined community. Using a tool called the Innovator's Compass (thank you, Ela Ben-Ur!), they utilized the design thinking process, empathized with the person(s) at the center of the issue through interviews, designed a solution to solve the problem, and presented, in a public fashion, their solution. The process and outcomes of each project are assessed against a set of learning competencies that, over their time with us, reflects the critical thinking each of our graduates will take into the world.
Our learning Facilitators noted that “a lot of the students started out with an idea and that led them on a journey of discovery and they came to understandings that they probably did not foresee.” This is the core of what we do here. We want students to dive into topics they care about, which engages them in a deeper, more authentic way. Many students, whether they know it or not, learned things about themselves such as group dynamics that work or don't work for them, asking for help, and time organization.
In Miara's self-reflection of her project, she talked about her perseverance, which is an important skill to learn: “I am proud of actually getting my project done. I almost quit multiple times and didn’t think I was going to get it done so I’m proud I did."
Shout-out to all of our incredible Explorers in their work and solutions to critical issues. Below is some of that work!
We’ll have an end of the school year outdoor Public Exhibition of Learning for the entire community, so hope to see you there!
Lynlee - Harmful Effects of Mississippi Pollution: “I’m proud of my learning of the state of the Mississippi River and getting out of my comfort zone. I have never done an interview but it wasn’t too bad and I learned a lot. I see myself trying to go above and beyond. I tried to get as much information from good sources too. In the end, I tried my best and I think I succeeded.”
Gabe - Undocumented Immigrants in the Construction Industry: “I'm most proud of my interview with BDC. I wouldn't procrastinate so much next time, but I managed to get my work together and understand my topic."
Article written by Gabe: "Immigrants in the Construction Industry"
Danae & Elora - Fixing Special Education: “I'm proud of the article, the survey I made, and the research sheet I did. I think if I work on the project more I would want to add more examples of the problems in my article and try to publish it.”
Article written by Danae and Elora: "What are the issues in the special education community & system, and what can we do to help fix them?"
Margie - A Sense of Belonging: “What I am most proud of is that even through all my hard times when I was so close to shutting down, I didn't let that stop me from finishing the project.”
Reagan - "Dangerous Animals" - Reality or Culture?: “I’m proud of the interviews I’ve done. I think that I reached out to good people for my project and conducted my interviews well, getting good, reliable, relevant information. I like how Hannah and Turner, and then Mat and Dave were literally there for it all, for all the steps. It was nice having someone to bounce my ideas off of and make sure I was on the right track.”
Check out Reagan's website on "Dangerous Animals" here!