Frequently Asked Questions

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What is Expeditionary Learning?

Expeditionary Learning (EL) is a comprehensive school design, which intentionally influences every aspect of schooling.  School leadership, finances, governance, teacher training, pedagogy, assessment practices, curriculum design, and school culture are all shaped by the EL design.  The EL model challenges students to think critically and take active roles in their classrooms and communities, resulting in higher achievement and greater engagement in schools.  Ten Design Principles communicate the values that drive the work of the school community; you can find them on our "About" page.   Born of a partnership between the Harvard School of Education and Outward Bound in 1992, EL has continued to grow and strengthen its work with teachers and college-bound students across the nation.  You can read more about EL at

What is MELA’s current leadership structure?

There is a volunteer board that meets monthly and numerous local community members who contribute their time and expertise in a variety of ways.  The board is intentionally small to ensure a focused vision is carefully guiding the design of both the Academy and the Center for Engagement.  Bios of current board members can be found through our "About" page.

What is The Center for Engagement?

The Center for Engagement is a critical part of our public purpose mission.  The Center currently offers high quality summer enrichment programs for both teachers and students in the Madison area, with plans to add school-year programming in the future.  Examples of programming can be found on our "Summer Camp" page. During the CFE's first two summers of programming, our enrollment grew more than 400% and one out of every four children participated at a reduced cost.  In addition, several of our programs were the first of their kind to be offered anywhere in the country!  The Center continues to collaborate and partner with a variety of local, regional, and national schools, organizations and businesses.  Our fantastic teaching staff are from public and private schools, higher education, and a variety of both local and national organizations.  We work to match both their expertise and their learning goals with camps that will help them grow AND allow them to share their remarkable skills, craftsmanship and knowledge with our students.