William Smith Staff to Present at National Conference

Expeditionary LearningWilliam Smith High School Assistant Principal David Roll and Development Director Lauren Victor will present the school's unique intensives program at the upcoming Expeditionary Learning National Conference. The conference – which will be held in Portland, Oregon in March – showcases schools that have successfully implemented various aspects of expeditionary learning in their curriculum, instruction style and culture.

Each year, Expeditionary Learning – an Outward Bound organization that helps schools implement the EL model – asks faculty at more than 175 schools to send proposals for conference presentations. Victor and Roll were selected to present on William Smith's intensives. Intensives are courses where students spend a long period of time – for example, one or two weeks – focusing on in-depth, hands-on learning in a single subject.

“Intensives at William Smith provide students with engaging, one-week opportunities to make connections between their learning and authentic applications of learning outside of the classroom.” - William Smith Assistant Principal David Roll.

Examples of topics for intensives at William Smith have included, but have not been limited to:

  • Documentary Film Production
  • Colorado River Rafting
  • Community Service
  • Cryptology
  • The Paranormal World
  • Culinary Arts
  • Moab Biking
  • The Psychology of Dreams
  • Theater Productions

According to William Smith Principal Jane Shirley, school staff are seeing the direct impact the expeditionary learning model has on student achievement.

“When students get involved in a project that has social impact, or they wrestle with real, hard questions, their thinking gets pushed, and their skills improve. They work at a different level.” – William Smith Principal Jane Shirley