River’s Edge Academy: an Expeditionary Learning School

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA An interview with REA’s Principal, Meghan Cavalier

How are the relationships between students and staff different in your school environment than a traditional school and how does that influence their learning?

The relationships between students and staff are intentional and collaborative. Staff work to support all student needs in and out of the classroom. We do this through providing a small learning environment, focus on character leadership development and expecting high quality work. Our Expeditionary Learning curriculum supports the opportunity for students to develop positive relationships with staff as well as peers. This includes college and career readiness, goal setting, adventure and fitness, academic planning as well as strategies to build healthy relationships. We start each school day with an all-school circle where students have the opportunity to lead. At the end of each week, students work along side staff to take responsibility for the physical space of our building and honor peers each week in a closing circle for representing our school values: honor, empathy, perseverance, honesty and exploration. Each year students are given the opportunity to participate in Outward Bound curriculum that supports character and leadership development through education in the outdoors. We strive to bring that learning back to the classroom and support each student as they grow.

What do you want people to know about River’s Edge?Copy of 20140924_102048

River’s Edge Academy is an inclusive community that fosters relationships. We have small class sizes with less than 25 students and less than 100 students in the school. Students receive  one-on-one instruction from teachers (1 to 7 staff to student ratio). Our school body is small enough that all students know each other and feel a sense of community. Students know that staff care about their overall well being, not only a grade in the class. Experiential learning includes projects and weekly fieldwork that is relevant to character and leadership development. We offer unique classes hands on elective classes like gardening or building canoes. Our graduation requirements are higher than the state requirements and 100% of students are accepted into college through the support of staff and community organizations. We incorporate environmental themes into curriculum, school structures (composting) and service projects. We are currently enrolling students, however space is limited. More information can be found at www.riversedgeacademy.org.

VIsion: REA graduates are academically, socially, and personally prepared to pursue life beyond high school with honor, empathy, honesty, perseverance, and a sense of exploration.

Mission: REA challenges students to discover their greatness by learning through experience in a small, supportive community.

Values: Honor / Exploration / Perseverance / Empathy / Honesty

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