What Is EL Education?



In 1991, EL Education was born from a partnership between Harvard Graduate School of Education and Outward Bound, USA. The founders of EL Education joined the character-infused philosophy of Outward Bound founder Kurt Hahn, which focuses on teamwork, courage, and compassion with an active approach to learning crafted by leading Harvard scholars and created 10 founding principles for the EL Education model.

“The idea is to put really important and difficult work together with great joy in doing it.”

Greg Farrell President Emeritus, Expeditionary Learning

The EL Education network is now a thriving collection of over 150 schools dedicated to challenging students to think critically and take active roles in their classrooms and communities. This results in higher achievement and greater engagement in school. El Education schools give students the academic and character-building skills they need to reach their potential as learners and leaders.

Our Definition of Student Achievement



At REALMS we believe that student achievement is about more than excellent test scores! In addition to helping students master the knowledge and skills needed for success in school (and on standardized tests), we believe that our fundamental role to help students develop character and engage deeply so that they learn to complete high quality work. In the words of Ron Berger of EL Education:


"When a student is finished with school and moves into adult life, she will be judged not by her ability to perform on a test of basic skills, but by the quality of her work and character."

Mastery of Knowledge and Skills


Students at REALMS work towards Proficiency and a deep understanding of the knowledge and skills in each academic discipline.


Rather than relying on a textbook written by large publishing companies, teachers at REALMS work together to design curriculum units that are academically rigorous and based on the best and most relevant curriculum standards available. 



Download a comparative analysis of our Smarter Balanced Assessment scores from 2015






Dowload our official 2014-15 School Report Card published by ODE





At REALMS, we have selected 3 Habits of Work (HOW's) and 3 Habits of Character and Community (HOCC's) that anchor our commitment to helping our students become young adults of exceptional character. Through intentionally designed activities and curriculum, our students learn to become:


effective learners who have the academic mindsets necessary to be successful in college, career and life - traits like: perseverance, initiative, and collaboration.


ethical people who stand up for what is right and through integrity, empathy and respect.


engaged citizen scholars who contribute to improving their community through service and stewardship


Download our Habits of Work (HOW's) and our Habits of Character & Community (HOCC's)

High Quality Work


The ability to create work of value and quality is a high ideal at REALMS. Moreover, we believe that it is important to help students instill an ethic for and ability to identify "quality work". We use the following three descriptors.


For us, high quality work is complex and should demonstrate critical or higher order thinking as well as the ability to transfer knowledge and understanding. Second, quality work must demonstrate craftsmanship through accuracy and beauty in both conception and execution. And finally, quality work must be, in some way, authentic. By authenticity, we mean that the work should demonstrate the original thinking, voice, or passion of the student, it should demonstrate some connection to real-world issues, and maybe most of all it should have some purpose and audience beyond the bulletin board in the hallway or refrigerator door at home. 


Links to representative work samples coming soon.

Realms Schools are part of the EL Education Network of Schools.