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Public district
Fort Collins, CO
Students enrolled: 262

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1905 Orchard Place
Fort Collins, CO 80521

(970) 488-8260
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Map of Polaris Expeditionary Learning School address.
Teacher effectiveness: Somewhat effective
August 22, 2015
English strong. Science and math weak. Music is somewhat near garage band randomness. Watch out for many kids who use this school as a last stop.

- submitted by a parent

February 15, 2015
This year I am a freshmen at Polaris. Though this is my first year (I recently switched over from a much more traditional school), I know I have certainly found my place. It's incredibly close-knit which I think is a benefit of the small size. I enjoy learning by doing and discussion rather than lectures and textbooks. I have found that Polaris is definitely the best place for experiential learning. It's also an amazingly open-minded place. You can be yourself and nobody could care less if you have piercings and purple hair or are gay or button your shirts to the top and go to church every day. Teachers are always there for you, always there to help you one-on-one with schoolwork or even personal problems. It is very laid back and students have a lot of freedom. I'm sure lots of people might disagree with this and think that "hey, these kids are much too young to have that much choice" but the truth is that you won't be prepared for college or the so called "real world" unless you learn how not to abuse freedom. The school is fairly casual and puts very little stress on standardized testing and homework. It provides lots of opportunities to find yourself. I love this school.

- submitted by a student

November 13, 2014
If you were to go to CDE's webpage and look at each school's "report card" (School Performance Framework), you'll notice that Polaris in 2014 became the highest ranked school out of all the public schools within the district. This is a testament to the staff. They don't filter kids into AP/remedial courses, they have about 20 fewer days in class to get these results due to their Intensive Weeks and Fieldwork days, they don't inundate my child with homework, and they only use textbooks in math and foreign language. Kids to digital portfolios and preset them to panels at the end of 8th, 10th, and 12th grade. True 21st century learning in my eyes.

- submitted by a parent

September 05, 2014
11/10 wud skool agen mlg pro much legit so skewl 11/10 wud skool agen -mastr of sweg

- submitted by a parent

August 05, 2013
I suspect the review immediately below was not actually written by a student. It seems contrived.

- submitted by a community member

August 02, 2013
As a several-year student of Polaris, I believe it is a school which provides incredible opportunities for students. Coming from another, more traditional high school in Fort Collins, I found my voice was not heard and I was more of a statistic than a member of the community. At Polaris, all the wonderful teachers are supportive and push you as you need. I feel at Polaris, students must foster their own motivation however, because of the system. Although we do not have an AP, or IB program, the classes are engaging and I have learned much more than my time at other schools. With the hands-on, small classroom community, we can have discussions and learn how to critically think. With any criticism towards this school, I would say that the individual may not have flourished because of their lack of effort. The best way to have a rewarding learning experience here is to value your own education, which I have found easy here.

- submitted by a community member

July 07, 2013
Polaris is a weak school. While some of the teachers are kind, dedicated, and hardworking, other teachers and support staff are disorganized, petty, lacking in professional knowledge and compassion to the point of being mean and in a few cases, actually harassing students. The principal contributes to this dysfunctional behavior by enabling these teachers through selectively addressing parental concerns and ignoring others, being arrogant, patronizing, manipulative, and unfortunately, even dishonest. Furthermore, the school does not fully embrace the expeditionary learning model with either character development or teaching practices on a daily basis. Expeditionary learning is rarely evident outside of the three, week-long intensives each year. The school is definitely something that students and parents should think twice about.

- submitted by a parent

June 13, 2013
This school cultivates a culture of mediocrity, starting with the principal and going down through the ranks all the way to the students. The student population they attract are largely those who are unable to be successful in a "traditional" school atmosphere. Many people send their children there because they think Polaris provides more opportunities for individual attention, flexibility, and creativity. However, they in reality seem to cater to and encourage not much more than an anti-establishment mentality that in fact stunts the development of a good number of their students who otherwise have potential. Overall, there is an anti-intellectual culture -- among both staff and parents -- that is resentful of students who strive to achieve academically. Parents who take an active interest in their child's education are treated with suspicion and even disdain. In sum, this school is a great fit for students who do not have especially high academic aspirations, but anyone who is academically motivated should steer clear.

- submitted by a parent

July 17, 2012
This is an incredible school! Motivated, kind teachers and staff- individual attention, understanding of each child's potential. This is not a school for slackers- learning skills for the 21st century- hands on - I highly suggest you take a tour of the school, meet the principal and teachers. All are the most highly comitted people I have ever met. Kids are active, group oriented, and very interesting people! We love this school.

- submitted by a parent

July 16, 2012
Excellent teaching, hands-on learning and character building expeditions that take kids out into the real world. Rigorous academic standards. My kids love it so much they wish it went through college!

- submitted by a parent

January 20, 2011
This is a great school for the more artsy, creative, sensitive students. The class sizes are small, very involved, caring environment. They are very understanding of flaky kid behavior. The academics are not overwhelming and adequate to the goal of the kids developing an understanding themselves and being able to do well at college or work. Not rigorous, but basically solid. The kids genuinely seem to care about each other, bullying is nonexistant. Lots of opportunities to travel. Loosely based on the Expeditionary Model. The principal is exceptional.

- submitted by a parent

January 13, 2010
My son is in 6th grade, and he's flourished at Polaris. The teaching staff is off the charts -- amazing, supportive yet challenging, affirming in my son's growing sense of who he is in the world. The crew and intensives have provided an infrastructure for him to be authentically connected to the other middle schoolers and feel very comfortable and safe socially. He's encouraged to pursue his strengths and he's making progress in areas where he's struggled in the past. I strongly recommend this school for curious and open-minded students.

- submitted by a parent
no rating
September 23, 2009
The teaching philosophy allows students to actually learn, not just memorize answers for tests. Students are encouraged to revise sub-par work to make it better and demonstrate that they've mastered learning targets. The teachers are incredibly dedicated and really get to know each student.

- submitted by a parent
no rating
August 04, 2009
Great school for kids who are progressive and not the typical robot students. They must want to learn and be open minded. Not a school for kids who want to cause problems and goof off.

- submitted by a parent

November 13, 2008
I love this school, it provides many views on the world ahead I have been going here for three years...I love how the teachers work with what we need o help us accomplish goals.

- submitted by a student

September 09, 2008
I have gone to this school since halfway through 7th grade (am now in 11th). In my town there are many good schools, this is the best though. Small class sizes, greater bonding chances with other students and teachers and teachers never deny you what you need.

- submitted by a student

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Last modified: August 22, 2015

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Polaris Expeditionary Learning School
1905 Orchard Place, Fort Collins, CO  80521
(970) 488-8260
Last modified Polaris Expeditionary Learning School is a Public school that serves grades 6-12. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 8 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Polaris Expeditionary Learning School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 23 reviews. Top