History of SELS

Sierra Expeditionary Learning School (SELS) is a public charter school that opened in the fall of 2010 in Truckee, CA. How it came to be:

Jan-Mar 2009

Local Truckee/Tahoe families gathered to begin looking at education alternatives for our community and decided to try to start a charter school.
May 2009

More than 30 Tahoe/Truckee parents met to brainstorm ideas for the vision of the school.
Jun-Sept 2009

Different educational styles and curriculum researched. Decided that Expeditionary Learning curriculum best fit the vision.
Nov 2009

After meetings about alternatives and dividing up responsibilities, charter school group became 14 founding parents with a unified vision for the school.
Dec 2009

Committee wrote Sierra Expeditionary Learning School charter petition.
Feb 2010

Charter petition presented to TTUSD Board Trustees at public meeting.
Mar 2010

TTUSD Board Trustees voted unanimously to approve SELS charter.
Apr 2010

Held public information nights and public lottery to determine admission.
May 2010

Hiring committee selects David Manahan as Director of SELS and begins interviewing teachers.
Jun-Aug 2010

The school community came together to fix up portables and build a playscape at our facility—the portables outside of the Sierra Mountain Community Education Center.
Jul 2010

Founding teachers are hired. Staff participates in EL Primary Institute, an intensive, week-long, professional development institute.
Aug 2010

Opening Day: August 25, 2010

Sierra Expeditionary Learning School opens its doors, serving 63 students in grades K-5.
Dec 2010

Families come together to celebrate learning for our first Gratitude Night. Classroom doors open for first Celebration of Learning, a community openhouse and showcase of student work.
Feb 2011

Charter ammendments approved allowing SELS to expand from 136 to about 200 students when the school reaches capacity and full K-8 grade spectrum.
Apr 2011

SELS awarded a federal public charter school grant of $575,000.
May 2011

New staff hired for 2011-2012 academic year.
Jun 2011

Passage Portfolio presentation, assessment panel include community members. Celebration of Learning and Passage Ceremony are capstones for the first year.
Aug 2011

SELS begins its second school year, serving 112 students, grades K-6.
Nov 2011

Sierra Expeditionary Learning School students participate in the Family Resource Center’s Dia de Los Muertos celebration with several performances. SELS students are featured in the Sierra Sun.
Dec 2011

Second annual Gratitude Dinner. Celebration of Learning features Transcontinental Railroad chautauquas, a Gold Rush musical, the preview of an orginal documentary film on geology, and rich classroom tour full of high quality products and dense portfolios.

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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

Email: truckeecharter@gmail.com
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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