Program Overview

McAuliffe is one of over 200 Expeditionary Learning schools in the country. As a member of the EL network, McAuliffe's program and operations are aligned with the EL Core Practices. There are five categories of core practices: Curriculum, Instruction, Culture and Character, Assessment, and Leadership. EL is known for a focus on team-building and learning in the natural world. Central to EL is a focus on guiding scholars to their own learning through highly engaging curriculum and instruction, habits of work and learning, and much more.


McAuliffe’s curriculum is organized into units of study called Learning Expeditions. Expeditions are cross-curricular and guide scholars to build understanding of academic content through real world case studies. They are designed by teachers and aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. Expeditions, typically include fieldwork, interactions with experts, a final product, and a culminating event.


McAuliffe’s teachers use instructional practices that promote rigorous learning expectations, ensuring that all scholars think and participate, and allowing teachers to know their scholars well. McAuliffe teachers promote critical thinking by asking that scholars make connections, articulate patterns and relationships, understand diverse perspectives, give evidence for inferences and conclusions, and generalize to the big ideas of the discipline studied. Classes are inclusive settings where general and special educators co-teach in order to differentiate instruction and hold the bar high for all scholars.


McAuliffe is a targets-based grading school with ratings Beginning, Approaching, Meeting, and Exceeding.

In our standards-based grading system, Habits Of Work and Learning (HOWLs) are assessed separately from other learning targets. By distinguishing these essential habits from academic achievement, teachers, scholars, and families have a clear sense of scholar’s strengths and needs. McAuliffe HOWLs are aligned with the school’s core values: PerseveranceResponsibilityInquiry, and Collaboration.