Exploration High School's educational program is grounded in the following:
Flex mod daily schedule in project based environment and restructured yearly calendar
Purposeful use of space using Fielding Nair International's concept of a learning community
The primary goal of student explorers is to identify existing community problems they intrinsically care about; then collaborate with peers, learning guides, and community partners to actively solve these problems.
The role of student explorers is a self-directed community problem solver who seeks to discover passions and purpose, and to develop skills to pursue them in and out of school.
The role of adults is a community-connected learning guide who builds trusting relationships throughout the learning community and co-designs authentic projects for learners to demonstrate competencies. As a teacher-powered school, adults also inform decisions on vital aspects of operational decision making.
Exploration High School's Learning Domains create a flexible and adaptable learning program so that all students can graduate with the skills, knowledge, and dispositions for whatever future they individually desire. The program is designed to ensure that academic excellence is the foundation for authentic demonstrations of learning. The center and focus of the Learning Domains is Community Asset Learning. Every experience within and across the domains is intended to help students understand how their personal skills and knowledge can be applied to solve community problems they see as important.
Each student's learning journey within and across these domains will be unique, but it will not be walked alone. Learning guides will help individual students navigate through the program, acting as coaches who build
strong trusting relationships to help students know themselves and grow themselves. Learning guides will also ensure that rigorous academic competencies are being met through authentic projects that inform Community Asset Learning and meet all Minnesota state standards. Because of the increased authenticity, activity, and relevance in a flexible and supported environment, Exploration High School views academic standards as foundations to build on, rather than an end goal to acquire.
A year at Exploration High
Exploration students will embark on an annual journey through
four purposeful sessions. Follow the slides to learn about how each session builds an adaptive culture of collective empowerment through deep relationships and self-directed learning.
A Day of an Exploration Explorer
Every explorers's usage of time is flexible and individualized within a project based environment.
All explorers will largely self-direct the way they spend their time, with personal learning guides providing support and navigation.
A flex mod schedule will be used that breaks the day into 20-minute modules. Certain large group experiences such as Spark-Y will provide anchors in explorers' schedule for planned collaboration and/or seminars.
With the understanding that each explorer's daily schedule is unique and adaptable to the specific context of the moment, follow the slides below to see one example of a day in the life of an Exploration explorer - who we will call Sam.
8:20 am | Sam arrives at school
Sam finds a comfortable place to sit in the learning commons, and checks in with her personal learning guide about daily and session goals. Together, they discuss strategies to engage a local nonprofit leader who is visiting later in the day for a lunch meeting to ideate on a Community Asset Project Sam has been working on for the last month. Sam finishes her conversation around 8:40 and decides to spend 15 minutes on an exercise bike in the Wellness & Movment Studio while listening to Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History podcast, as later in the day a group of students are engaging in a Socratic Seminar on the power of storytelling.
The above video demonstrates a transition from a traditional classroom model to what globally renowned school designer Randy Fielding calls a learning community. The heart of the learning community is the open learning commons, which serves as the primary gathering space for students. A variety of purposeful spaces directly accessible from the learning commons include project studios, small group meeting areas, and sensory rooms to support flexible needs and arrangements.
Within the ethos of
learning happens anywhere, anytime
Exploration High School does not confine our program to the physical walls of the school. Our students, adults, and partners continually look for ways to engage in problem solving throughout local and global communities. Every person involved, young and old, seeks purpose and impact in the vast and unique journey they embark on each day of their life.