Dear McAuliffe Community,

As a CREW and not passengers, we have accomplished a goal that has required participation from every member of the community; Together, through our deepening implementation of expeditionary learning practices, we have become a formally credentialed EL Education network school!

Though McAuliffe has always implemented expeditionary learning as its primary education model, since the school was founded in 2002, a strategic goal over the last four years has been for the school become credentialed by EL Education by the end of the 2017-18 school year. On Wednesday, December 13, a McAuliffe team, including school leaders, teachers, scholars, and alumni, presented our online portfolio (www.credentialing.mcauliffecharter.org) to seven EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning) panelists; this was a final step in the rigorous EL Education credentialing process that we have been working on for over twelve months. Our team showcased the successful implementation of the EL Education core practices through three dimensions of student learning: 1) Mastery of Skills and Knowledge, 2) Character, 3) High Quality Work. Our portfolio — which I encourage you to explore — tells the school’s story through multiple pieces of evidence, including analysis of quantitative data, student work, and video.

After analyzing the portfolio and considering the team’s presentation, the EL panelists announced to the team that the Christa McAuliffe Charter School has met the rigorous criteria set forth to join 33 other schools as a credentialed school in the EL Education network. In a message to faculty, EL Education’s Chief Academic Officer, Ron Berger, shared the following: “We are so proud to celebrate McAuliffe as an EL Education Credentialled School!  I travel around the country showing off the 6th grade project If The Shoe Fits (featured in our Models of Excellence website) and teachers are inspired everywhere. Now I can brag that this model project comes from a model EL Credentialled School—a place where all kids from all backgrounds with all needs are privileged to create high-quality work.”

Now that McAuliffe is a credentialed EL Education network school, doors to additional opportunities may open to us including opportunities for us to share practices with other schools in and outside of the EL Education network. In particular, McAuliffe shines as a stand-alone middle school employing the EL Education school reform model and as a school with structures that ensure every scholar is known well academically and personally. “It is clear that kids don’t get lost at McAuliffe,” said a panelist.

Though just a portion of our community attended the credentialing presentation, it was our whole CREW of faculty, scholars, family, and alumni who worked together to achieve this success. Teachers designed learning expeditions that engaged scholars in deep learning; scholars gave and received kind, specific, helpful feedback to make their work high quality and ready to share with an audience; and family members attended student led conferences and culminating events. These are just three examples of how members of our community contributed to our mission and strategic goal. We would not have achieved what we have without every member of our community doing his or her part.

For these reasons, I feel appreciation for each and every person who makes up our McAuliffe crew. Thank you for your commitment to our mission and to expeditionary learning as our primary education model. Thank you for your ongoing support and contributions to bettering our work together every day, every year.

With gratitude,
Kristin Harrison
Executive Director