Principal Blog - March

We are crew, not passengers, strengthened by acts of consequential service to others.

  • Kurt Hahn, founder of Outward Bound

Crew is an essential part of the AXL Academy experience, both in concept and in practice. While most schools have some form of advisory program, the structure of Crew is one that forms the foundation of Expeditionary Learning. Crew usually takes place first thing in the morning and allows for teachers and scholars to check in. Many teachers (known as Crew Leaders in this context) start off the day with scholars seated in a circle and responding to a prompt designed to kick off their day in a positive manner and to build relationships with the Crew Leader and with other scholars. Sometimes there are opportunities to provide feedback and reminders regarding school systems and school culture, always relying on reflective questioning that focuses on the idea that scholars are responsible for themselves and for each other - they are “crew”, and not merely “passengers.”

Walking around AXL to experience Crew is a reaffirming experience. In a 3rd grade Crew, I observed scholars engaging in reflection in writing and verbally to process the growth that they made recently in math. A class of 2nd graders were tossing around an inflatable Earth and using it as an opportunity to share how their day is going so far. There was a phenomenal team-building activity in 6th grade that required our scholars to work together in order to support their bodies without their hands - literally making a pretzel that resembled an MC Escher painting. Scholars in 7th grade shared “roses” and “thorns” about their weekend, taking the opportunity to share with the teacher those things over the weekend that made them happy as well as experiences that caused them to struggle. And last week I observed a community meeting where 1st and 2nd grade scholars all met together in the cafeteria in order to kick off a cross-grade project honoring Black History Month - led by a 1st grade scholar on the microphone. I see these experiences at AXL every day as examples of how our Crew Leaders engage our scholars in conversations around academics, social-emotional learning, and our Code of Character. We teach scholars to have an active role in everything that they do - after all, they are crew, not passengers. Take a peek at the link below to see examples of a small fraction of what our scholars do in Crew every day.