Our program is World Wide Web (WWW)-based. Each enrolled learner needs a computer with a camera, broadband Internet access, and a free Skype account.
Explorations Academy Online (EAO) offers a personalized high school program that:
Our program is offered in two terms each school year:
Fall Term -- mid-September to mid-January
Spring Term -- early February to early June
For each term the program at Explorations Academy Online includes four parts:
The learner chooses one of the clusters offered during this term in which to learn. A cluster is an interdisciplinary study equivalent in quantity of learning to 1.5 semester courses in a conventional high school curriculum; a cluster is course of study that is led by the Learning Coach. Examples of clusters include Crime and Punishment, You're on Your Own, The Renaissance, and Energy.
Each term the learner, in dialogue with her/his Learning Coach, poses a question that she/he wants to investigate. The learner and the learning coach frame this inquiry into the equivalent of 0.5 (one-half) to one semester course, as negotiated between the learner and the Coach.
EAO offers three years of high school mathematics as the norm. These include Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus. Ordinarily each learner completes one year of Math during each school year. A fourth year of math, Calculus, may be available.
While Washington State does not require the study of another world language, most colleges require two years or more. EAO does not offer world language classes on-line. Each learner's Coach will discuss with her/him what second language she/he would like to learn and will assist her/him in finding the appropriate venue for this activity. World language learning may require an additional cost to the learner.
A significant part of the learning at Explorations Academy Online is experiential.
The learner will negotiate his/her specific learning experiences each term with his/her Learning Coach. During each term the learner will engage in one or two Experiential Studies. Each of these studies will be the equivalent of one semester course.
Over a four-year career as a learner at Explorations Academy On-line, the learner must engage in at least one Experiential Study in each category listed below:
THE ARTS: drawing, painting, singing, playing a musical instrument, pottery, or any other form of art or craft
ADVENTURE: hiking, backpacking, tracking, hunting, orienteering, or any other activity that is challenging and that takes place outside
SERVICE: any form of service to other people, to animals, or to the natural world
BODY/MIND DISCIPLINE: an activity that is physical and that encourages awareness and mindfulness about that activity; for example, yoga, dance, tai chi, chi kung, aikido, long distance running, gymnastics
APPRENTICESHIP: a commitment by the learner to learn a skill(s) from an appropriate adult who is proficient in this skill(s); can be work-related, in the arts or crafts, or in any field of human endeavor
ECOLOGICAL EXPERIENCE: active engagement with ecology in some meaningful way; for example, ecological restoration, gardening, permaculture, birdwatching, animal husbandry
Learners will have an opportunity for international travel and credit-bearing study with teachers and students from Explorations Academy in Bellingham and other learners from EAO. In recent years Explorations Academy students have traveled to India, Belize, Guatemala, Kenya, Peru, Indonesia, Cuba, and Thailand, visiting locals and staying with local families, and taking part in several service projects in each country.
This travel/study experience is the equivalent of two semester courses.
The Learning Coach will also be in regular communication with each learner's parents to provide updates on the learner's experience and to respond to any questions or concerns that arise.
Every Learning Coach at EXPLORATIONS ACADEMY ONLINE has a passion for working with teens and a strong belief that teens can accomplish much more than conventional high schools allow. Every Learning Coach has earned at least a college degree, has experience in working with teens, and is a skilled and self-motivated learner who knows how to guide and support learning.
Every learning coach is closely supervised and supported by David Marshak, the coordinator of the program.
When a learner enrolls in EAO, her/his Learning Coach will establish contact and introduce herself/himself. The Learning Coach will also have an introductory conversation with the learner's parents.
The EAO program exceeds the high school graduation standard for the state of Washington. A learner who enrolls successfully in EAO for 4 years will earn at least 24 credits, including the subject credits listed below. 24 credits are required by EAO for graduation.
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The Learning Coach will assess each learner's work in an ongoing way. At the end of each term the learner will assess her/his own learning, as will the Learning Coach. Both of these assessments will be shared with parents/guardians.
The learner's work will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis.
Each learner will build a portfolio of student work, self-evaluations and reflections, and assessments from the Learning Coach throughout his/her studies at EAO.
EAO will maintain a permanent record of each learner's accomplishments, which can be provided to colleges and/or prospective employers.