A New Year Begins!

School is underway!  Our sixteenth school year is off to a great start, due in part to a wonderful cadre of new students — constituting 30% enrollment growth! — and some great additions to our staff as well.  We spent most of the first week on a field orientation, helping students to connect with each other, set goals for the term, meet with their advisors, and discuss expectations.  We did two service projects, one building garden beds and one doing trail maintenance.   We also held classes, including one on Nonviolent Communication strategies to help develop the skills necessary for an effective community.

Our new students come from all over.  In addition to youth from Bellingham, we have kids coming from the outlying parts of Whatcom and Skagit Counties.  And we’re honored to have students from the Czech Republic, Indonesia, and Canada joining our community this year.  Incorporating a global perspective is an important way to prepare young people for success in the 21st Century, and we’re pleased to be expanding our global focus in this way.

Each year we identify an overarching theme to weave into our coursework.  This year’s theme is Awareness, and future blog posts will delve deeper into that idea.  For a teaser, we’ll just say that we have introduced the idea of increasing awareness in five different realms — relational, organic, logistic, ethical, and sensory.  Hmmm…

For an overview of the exciting courses we are offering for this Fall, please visit our website and click the news link about Fall Curriculum.

While we focus on getting the school year started, rumblings continue in the larger field of education about what is not working and why.  The current issue of Time, for example, features a cover story about education in America.  One interesting note from the article:  The expertise and inspiration of individual teachers is increasingly being recognized as a pivotal factor in student success.  Well, this is not news at Explorations Academy.  We’re happy to say that our teachers are as creative and inspiring as they come!  Without question, teaching at Explorations is a challenging job, but the talent and dedication of our faculty are immense, and play a key role in giving young people a meaningful, relevant education.  We owe these individuals the deepest respect and admiration for their powerful work.

All in all, 2010-11 is shaping up to be one of the best years ever for Explorations Academy!

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