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 Principal Nic Roberts speaks at a potium infront of a sign that says Adventure AwaitsThe first of four informational meetings on the new Nettie S. Freed K-8 Expeditionary drew a host of families to the D60 Administration Building Wednesday to hear about the school and its curriculum from Principal Nic Roberts and other District leaders.
In his address, Principal Roberts addressed the core concepts of expeditionary learning.
"Expeditionary schools are held to the same standards of student learning as any other public school,” he said. “Our students will take the same tests at the end of the year to assess whether they have gained the knowledge and skills that they were expected to gain.
“The difference is how we will go about helping students gain that mastery. In our school, this is accomplished through engaging in learning expeditions. This is the signature structure of expeditionary learning, hence the name.”
Principal Roberts defined expeditions as “long-term, in-depth studies of compelling topics -- varying depending on grade level -- that include wide ranging areas such as ‘tools and work,’ ‘The American Revolution’ and ‘epidemics.’”
Over the course of an expedition, students will engage in their own original research, which often involves fieldwork experience and discussions with experts in the field. Students will be expected to produce projects and products that require critical thinking and problem solving, and explore case studies to help them better understand the topic.
“All of the elements of these expeditions work together to provide students with the practice they need to develop their literacy skills and knowledge at the same time that they are learning science, social studies and math,” Principal Roberts explained. “The expeditions serve to focus all of the students' learning around their compelling topic, rather than presenting them with separate, disconnected pieces.”
DIgital renderings and color pallets of the new Freed SchoolA key aspect of the expeditionary school model is the building of character.
“Lots of schools work with students on character development, but it is often seen as a separate element, or an add-on piece if time allows,” Principal Roberts said. “For us, building character is just as important as developing academic skills. It is incorporated into everything we do, every day.”
A third dimension is high-quality student work.
“We will know that our students are learning, because we will see that learning reflected in the work that they produce,” said Principal Roberts. “Teachers will design tasks that ask students to apply, analyze, evaluate and create on a regular basis. Student work will connect their focus on the compelling topic to the world beyond school. They will be tasked with creating authentic work that demonstrates original thinking and showcases their voice, connects to real-world issues and formats, and, when possible, is meaningful to the community beyond the school.”
With access to classes like art, music and physical education, students also will be exposed to Career and Technical Education (CTE.)
“Students will have the opportunity to explore the vast range of careers and fields in the Colorado Career cluster model,” Principal Roberts said. “Students will explore different career areas and skills through connections to their expeditions, as well as independent career-focused courses.
Two students in red shirts pick out new Freed T-shirts as giveaways at the event.
“These experiences will be exploratory in nature, meaning that they will give students a glimpse into a wide range of careers and skills, without forcing students to pick one area over another.”
Attendees were treated to free T-shirts, buttons, yard signs and cupcakes prepared by D60 Nutrition Services/Southwest Foodservice Excellence.
The Nettie S. Freed K-8 Expeditionary informational meetings will continue as follows:
  • Friday, November 4, noon-1:30 p.m.: Centennial High School Cafeteria
  • Saturday, November 5, noon-1:30 p.m.: South High School Cafeteria
  • Saturday, November 12, 5:30- 7 p.m.: East High School Cafeteria
With seats expected to fill up quickly, early enrollment (K-6) will begin on November 15, running through January 3.
For more information, visit or call 201-7954.