River’s Edge Academy (REA) is a tuition free, Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound charter high school in St. Paul.
REA educates students to become environmentally responsible, socially conscious, and scholastically prepared for college and active community life. The mission of River’s Edge Academy is, in partnership with parents and community, to prepare urban high school students for their further education and career with rigorous academics, innovative projects and an interdisciplinary river-focused curriculum. At River’s Edge Academy, the focus is on learning by doing – an experiential approach! We are a part of a network of schools using the Expeditionary Learning Schools Outward Bound model. This model, a New American Schools design, embraces the spirit of adventure and discovery, the spirit of teamwork and collaboration, and a commitment to community involvement. The Expeditionary Learning Schools (ELS) network encompasses 150 schools reaching 50,000 students across the United States. The model is based on researched “best practices” in education that provide a foundation for academic success as well as success in life. Our goal at River’s Edge Academy is to bring about a transformation in the way teaching and learning occur and to foster resilience, curiosity, tenacity, self-discipline, and compassion in our students. In Expeditionary Learning Schools, most of the academic work is done in “learning expeditions”. Expeditions are long-term in-depth interdisciplinary units of study aligned with state and district standards. Expeditions are developed around compelling topics that often relate to local community issues embracing multiple perspectives. Topics are shaped and enriched through questions posed by students, teachers, or experts in the field of study. Students are engaged in active learning through collaborative and individual projects, fieldwork, research, embedded literacy, and work with experts, in addition to guided instruction.