Welcome to Polaris ELS
Polaris is one of two schools within Poudre School District that partner with the national education reform model of Expeditionary Learning (EL). Polaris utilizes the 10 Design Principles and five Core Practice Benchmarks of Expeditionary Learning to achieve our mission to "develop 21st century learners through rigorous academic course work, high quality adventure experiences, character development, and leadership opportunities." Together—as parents, students, teachers, and staff—we strive to create the ideal learning environment for adolescents. Our environment supports adolescent development, experiential curriculum, life skills, and connections between kids and their community.
Classes consist of approximately 22-29 students per class. The fundamental idea behind Expeditionary Learning is that students learn more by experiencing the world around them. Expeditionary Learning harnesses the students’ natural passion to learn and helps children develop the curiosity, knowledge, skills, and personal qualities they need for successful adulthood. EL describes three "buckets of success" they strive for in their schools and their students, they are as follows:
Success on traditional measures
Character, engagement, & motivation
Quality products and performances that represent "real work"
Colorado standards are utilized to design Expeditions across the curriculum, this teaching and learning process emphasizes students taking personal responsibility for their learning. In addition, Polaris employs assessment tools such as student portfolios, Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing, CSAPs, self-assessments, portfolios, and Presentations of Learning to provide a complete picture of student development.
At Polaris, our goals are to:
• Achieve high academic standards as measured by standardized assessments;
• Enhance students’ character development and social responsibility;
• Engage families in the educational process;
• Connect schools and communities; and
• Challenge and support students’ inherent inquisitiveness.
More about Polaris>>
Core Practice Benchmarks
School Of Choice Application / PSD Link
2013 - 14 Student / Parent Handbook
What people are saying:
From a visiting field expert...
"Hi Cree, I wanted to thank you again for having me in your class today. I had never seen a school like this and was pleased with how many good questions and observations that the kids had. Clearly they are a “cut above.” I speak at High Schools all the time and I’ve never had that level of participation or insight.
Thank you for the opportunity to talk about b&w, it is one of my passions! My thanks to the kids for being so polite and participating."
Cole, professional photographer
From a visitor from Marzano's Research Lab...
"I just wanted to thank you for letting me be a tiny part of your clear and powerful vision and mission there at Polaris. If ever a group of 21st Century Learners were being “well prepared”, it is here in your program! What a joy it is to see what can and should be done to build world-class learners, being done!"
"I just wanted to take a moment to compliment the efforts of the leaders and staff at Polaris. What an incredible learning opportunity and environment for students! We wanted you to know how powerful our day was. We felt we came away with more than we helped contribute."
Dr. Tammy Heflebower
Robert Marzano Research Laboratory
From a graduate student after doing some site visits...
I wanted to take a quick minute to tell you what a wonderful and inspiring school Polaris is. I am currently working on my masters in secondary education, as part of my program I am required to earn one hundred observation hours with various educators. I have had many parents tell me to observe at Polaris since it is such an asset to our community. I must say these parents were only partially correct. In my first few hours at Polaris I was amazed at how well (your teachers) are striving for a very self-sustained educational concept. During my other observations….(I didn’t) see critical thinking skills used and promoted….(However), at your school I was blown away by how (your teachers)
required …students to use their resources before asking for assistance. I
can honestly say that Polaris has taken education to the next level, your
students, and this community, are truly blessed to have such passionate and
caring educators in our classrooms.
1905 Orchard Place