My son has just completed his first term at Explorations Academy High School. He began his freshman year of high school at a good public high school here in Bellingham. Within that first year he came to realize that he wanted to learn in smaller classrooms, have more dedicated attention from his teachers because of the smaller class size and be challenged to find his destiny and his fullest human potential. He seems to have found that here at Explorations Academy. Each of the teachers challenge him to find his own voice, to be held accountable for his finest work and acknowledge the unique human being that his is. The curriculum and the teachers model the possibility of crafting a life rather then just living their life. They encourage the students to find a life of "meaning" rather then simply "doing". We are very happy to have found such a supportive place for our son as well as a place that prepares young people to enter their world with the confidence and compassion to make a difference.
As the father of a 16 year old daughter attending Explorations Academy, I am nothing short of amazed at what this team is accomplishing. My daughter is inspired, engaged, activated, charged with energy and thriving. I could list many areas in which I have seen growth since she began, but I will mention just one: her ability to express herself. Since starting at Explorations, Samia's ability to articulate her ideas and in particular, her opinions have blossomed substantially. This is no doubt the work of the intellectually potent class environment... Adding to and reinforcing these abilities have been a huge leap in her vocabulary. What you are doing is academically expansive - no explosive - while staying exceptionally relevant to the life of an adolescent and at the same time to the needs of a rapidly changing world which is in many ways in crisis. All the while, you have incorporated the arts, exercise and movement, wilderness exploration and international excursions - not as isolated items, but integrated seamlessly into the organic nature of how the terms are designed. The teacher s dedication, creativity and enthusiasm for the curriculum is clear. Well done!
My son is in his first year at Exploration. I am excited to see how he has developed confidence as a student. The caring staff has supported and encouraged him in his development. They teach the students to be comfortable with who they are while encouraging them to strive for excellence. My son is learning amongst a peer group that respects each person s individuality both socially and academically. It is a psychologically safe environment where students do not have to be distracted with social posturing and can focus on learning in a cooperative, healthy social environment. Through practical involvement in the local and global community, students develop a sense of hope and capability while learning in and about the world. I am happy to see my son excited about going to school and enthusiastic about learning.
I have spent quite a bit of time at Explorations as a visiting educator. I have been blown away by the curriculum, field opportunities and sense of community I have seen. It is highly evident that the staff is very passionate about teaching, but also about learning. They consistently strive to create meaningful curriculum and present it in a fresh, exciting way to tailor to many different learning styles. In turn, the students feel comfortable discussing, analyzing, thinking critically, and immersing themselves in what they are learning. Because they are committed to their education, and have faith in their teachers, they have respect for each other as individual thinkers, their facility, and the ongoing opportunities they have as students. I have been in many different schools, but have never seen the students and the staff come together to build a foundation of wellness, education, and community that thrives. They go beyond jumping through educational loopholes; the learning is meaningful and applicable. The students are becoming passionate, respectful critical thinkers that will benefit the well-being of their communities.
I visited the site last night. Students, parents and staff gathered for a potluck dinner and presentation by the head administrator. It was refreshing to be lead as a group to discuss current topics in our lives and our community. Each table was a mix of parents, students and staff, therefore we had an opportunity to hear from three aspects of the school community. Not only do I get a sense of the students' perspective, but I get to share with them how I value their learning environment and share with them my desire to support them in their academic and personal growth.
My son attended Explorations Academy for four years and recently graduated. He is a very bright and unusually creative young person who just didn't fit into the institutional school mold. At Explorations, he was able to find his own path and express himself in his own ways -- while being exposed to very bright and creative teachers and a highly relevant academic curriculum. Further, Explorations provided him the opportunity to travel to India, Peru, and Kenya during his high school years, which gave him a window on global citizenship most young people only dream of. He is now in his second year at university and our family is very grateful for the experience he had at Explorations Academy.
It is hard to overstate what a great experience Explorations Academy has been for my son. He graduated last month with a wealth of experience most don t receive in a life time. Not only did he do well in his studies he got to travel to Cuba this year to learn firsthand the differences between our two countries. (He had gone to Guatemala for a month his first year at Explorations and to Indonesia for a month his junior year.) He ranked in the top 90 percentile of all American students when he took his SATs this year and if this wasn t enough to be impressed with the job Explorations was doing just ask my son and he will tell you that he really enjoyed going to school there. As a parent I can only say how proud I am of my son and how happy I am with Explorations Academy.
Explorations Academy is providing the best possible atmosphere for learning and engaging in community based activities. My daughter can wake up knowing it is going to be a rough day and still WANTS to go to school because she feels committed to doing her best. An outstanding staff combined with a curriculum that addresses education in a holistic manner. Academics, while rigorous, are meaningful and relevant in todays world. I feel extremely grateful to be a part of this foreward thinking educational institution. Parent of 14 yr old current student
My daughter attended Explorations Academy 10 years ago and is still filled with the glow of experiential learning. The staff is so engaged in teaching, it was hard to resist their contagious enthusiasm. My daughter's learning style was finally recognized and appreciated by the staff and with her new confidence, propelled herself through university with goals for graduation. She is now a happy well adjusted employed person who is engaged in the world.
Pinch me, I must be dreaming. I asked my son how his day at school was. His response, and I quote, "It was reallyygood." I thought to myself - did he just say IT WAS REALLY GOOD!?!?!?! WOW!!!! I am quite certain that he has NEVER sad that before. In the short time he's been there we already see the seeds of change - he feels like he belongs, he feels like he counts, and that he has a responsibility to himself to take charge of his education, and his life.
This school teaches by taking the kids into the world and showing them what's out there, then talking about it. Experiential learning about what's really going on.
This is a dream school my teenage son is participating in leading edge school with subjects and teachers preparing him for life . He is engaged , challenged and responding with enthusiasm. Experiential education involves losts of outdoor activities, service work in the community , international travel options balanced with a rigorous academic curriculum. I highly recommend Explorations High School.
Explorations Academy has been truly influential in shaping the man my son is becoming. My 17-year old son has had four years at Explorations. This fantastic school has really focused on character building. All of the students are self-aware, confident and appreciative of themselves and others. The theme-based curriculum and international travel program are challenging and thought-provoking. These students have a global outlook on life that instills confidence.
Explorations is a school with an unique relationship between teachers and students. The teachers go much beyond their job descriptions. The students are expected to observe, think and process... Great school for those who want more than suceeding at multiple-choice.
For my 14-yr old daughter, this school is the best thing in years. It's small, academically excellent but has a wide range of students, has hands-on learning as much as possible. They go on multiple day field trips every month and there is an international trip every winter! They teach personal development (the theme is Integrity this year) and I see my daughter growing in response. They don't take the WASL, which I think the public schools have to spend too much time and energy on. However, the kids are comfortable with standardized tests. Each kid has a close relationship with an advisor, who is also one of their teachers. Lastly, they focus on social responsibility and are out in the town just about every week. I just think Explorations Academy is great.
I wish a school like Explorations had been around when I was a teenager. Teaching there is a non-stop adventure, from exploring nearby cities to backpacking on the coast and spending a month in India. The students are really what make the school special though; they are creative, open-minded, and always keep us thinking!
This is a phenomenal school! Teaching social responsibility often is at the bottom of public school teachers' 'to do lists'--but not at Explorations Academy. A student centered education is just one of the the tremendous attributes that sets this school apart from the rest. Kids gain real skills, confidence and of course a world of knowledge, paving their way to a bright and successful future!
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