Truckee Charter School Concept

Who are we?
In early 2009, a group of local families came together with the goal to provide an alternative public education option in Truckee. We are a diverse group of parents with a wide range of skills to contribute to this project. Our dedicated group includes teachers, contractors, small business owners, non-profit directors, lawyers and marketing professionals. We are organized, highly motivated and committed to bringing a progressive and successful educational experience to the Tahoe Truckee community.

What we propose to do
Our goal is to partner with the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District to become a site-based charter under the district. Our model begins with a K-5 63 student school, with the potential to grow a grade level each year. Our target opening is for the 2010-2011 school year.

We will offer a hands-on Expeditionary Learning curriculum that adheres to district and state standards. Small multi-grade classes and strong mentoring programs will facilitate diverse learning styles and develop a sense of community. Our program will be heavily enriched with physical activity, visual and performing arts, music, and meaningful field trips.

The Expeditionary Learning curriculum is designed by Outward Bound©, a non-profit organization that uses outdoor adventures as learning experiences.  The goal of Expeditionary Learning is to foster academic achievement and character growth while instilling a love of learning and a sense of community.  This is achieved through learning expeditions, in-depth studies of a single topic or theme that are interdisciplinary and align with state and district standards.  With the belief that children learn best through learning adventures and hands-on experiences, students are guided by instructors, as opposed to being "taught to"; promoting a deeper understanding of a given subject while at the same time encouraging self discovery and building character. We feel Expeditionary Learning is an ideal fit with the active, outdoor lifestyle and values of many Truckee families.

Benefits to TTUSD

“Charter schools are public schools serving our children with our money. Instead of standing apart, charters should be partnering with districts, sharing lessons, and sharing credit.” - Arne Duncan, Oct. 2009


  • The Truckee Charter School is aligned with TTUSD’s commitment to educational programs with proven positive outcomes and supports all of the TTUSD’s goals:
  • Goal #1: Diverse and Rigorous Programming Philosophy
  • Goal #2: Outstanding Student Achievement
  • Goal #3: Quality Staff
  • Goal #4: Effective Leadership and Culture
  • Goal #5: Fiscal Accountability


  • Brings a cutting-edge, proven model for comprehensive school reform to the district. Expeditionary Learning’s research-based design, combined with its solid teacher-development component, has led to higher student achievement, increased teacher satisfaction, and positive school culture, particularly in Title 1 schools. The Expeditionary Learning method could be integrated into existing TTUSD school structures and help to close the achievement gap.


  • TTUSD can proactively be responsive to community needs and strengthen community relationships. This is an opportunity for TTUSD to build on its collaborative history of partnering with community groups.


  • Offer families an educational choice within the district. The Truckee Charter School can be an incentive for some families to invest in our local school district instead of sending their children elsewhere.


  • This is an opportunity for TTUSD to position itself for charter funding. As a new charter school in California we are eligible for planning and implementation funding of $500,000. As the charter movement grows in support and popularity we anticipate additional state and federal funding.


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Sierra Expeditionary Learning School
PO Box 2179
Truckee, CA 96160

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SELS is a 501c(3) non-profit corporation, Truckee Charter School Foundation, dba Sierra Expeditionary Learning School. Federal Tax ID: 27-1627347.

For Parents



11603 Donner Pass Road
Truckee, CA 96161
Portable buildings M3-M7

Phone: (530) 448-8115
Fax: (530) 448-8223
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On top of all the teaching and learning, I'm struck by the joy in the faces of all the children as they go about their quest for knowledge. Thanks to all the courageous and energetic people who had the vision to make this school a reality. With all the challenges the world faces today and predictions of disaster, these committed teachers/staff, these engaged families, and these beautiful children are a beacon of hope.

SELS embodies everything that I feel is important in my child's education and I am so grateful that she has the opportunity to learn in such an enriching environment. Teaching our children how to think and how to treat others is critical to their future success. I am thankful every single day for all the wonderful staff at SELS.

What an amazing place. It has been everything for my son that I had hoped he could experience in school. Great teacher, stimulating learning environment, and a deeply caring and nurturing place.

I am grateful that my child is encouraged to interpret concepts and think about how they apply to his life, not just memorize and repeat material. I love that SELS asks kids to think about who they are and how they contribute to the community, locally and globally.

I greatly appreciate that SELS is a heart-centered school that teaches ethics and values along with academics. That approach makes SELS a unique and special place.

I appreciate all the teachers and staff and their responsiveness. I also appreciate all the work the staff are doing to help the kids figure out how to fill each other's buckets!

Our son is bubbling over with excitement for learning. This environment is gifting him with life long skills to succeed. We are so thankful for this school.

All the Adults and students challenge each other the THINK!

SELS is amazing in the way they teach topics hands on and allow the children to learn in practical settings. We couldn't be happier seeing our son flourish so much! Thank you.

I am very grateful to the SELS staff for offering my 5th grader their hearts, as well as their knowledge. Better yet, they make learning fun and adventurous! My youngster is THRIVING at your wonderful school!!

We are thankful for many wonderful ideals and principles at SELS, but what really brings those into reality is the caring, hard-working teachers and staff. We wouldn't have thought that someone else would care as much about the whole education of our daughter as much as we do, but there is a whole team of such people at SELS.

I am so thankful that my 5th grade daughter is a member and student of this beautiful community and school. She is receiving a fantastic education with hands on learning, caring, understanding, creative, out of the box thinking and intuitive teachers. She feels included, important, confident and is growing tons in her knowledge and place in this wonderful community. Thank you SELS for being an amazing part of my daughter's education and Life!

I truly appreciate all the staff, students, parents and families at SELS. It is these people that make SELS so wonderful.
This has become a new 'family" for us!

I am so grateful for the amazing staff; they are the most amazing guides. It is an inspiration to watch them help our children learn and grow into thoughtful, independent, productive human beings!
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