Our curriculum is based on the followin educational philosophy. We believe:

  • In educating the whole child, attending to not only academics but also character, physical and emotional well-being, and service to the community.
  • Interdisciplinary learning expeditions, developed from state standards, promote learning through authentic experiences that encourage critical thinking and social responsibility.
  • Our multi-age, looping model helps build stronger relationships between students and teachers, and lead towards a safer, more vibrant school environment so critical to the teaching and learning process.
  • Small, multi-grade classes cultivate a safe environment for individual learning and self- discovery.
  • High expectations for character and behavior create a school culture exemplified by physical and emotional safety, accountability, compassion, integrity, and respect.
  • Shared school traditions and celebrations support reflection, personal growth and a sense of belonging within the school community.
  • Multiple means of assessment, including portfolios and student-led conferences, along with academic and character reports, hold students, teachers, and staff accountable for the highest quality of work.
  • Multicultural studies and a foreign language component instill tolerance and broad worldviews while fostering an appreciation for local and global diversity.
  • A diverse school population reflective of our community promotes intercultural understanding and respect for individual differences and similarities.
  • Physical fitness, outdoor activities, and visual and performing arts are an integral part of students’ daily lives.

We believe learning best occurs in a safe yet stimulating environment, where challenge and support help children discover their abilities, values, and passions. Our learning program is built on the belief that given appropriately nourishing experiences, all children can learn, but not in the same way, nor equally well from the same sources. We believe that all learners possess an innate and unique creativity that can be developed given the appropriate environment. It allows for the joy of knowledge and self-expression and the thrill of exploration. It is flexible to accommodate the individuality of learners and to evolve as our community and the world around us evolves.

We believe that a sustained love of discovery is the foundation of lifelong learning. The creativity and enthusiasm for discovery that is natural in young children is nurtured and expanded throughout the educational experience. Real learning takes place when active participants make personal connections to the skills and knowledge available to them. Motivation is the key to building this connected learning. The root of motivation is linking new skills and knowledge with personal interests and needs. Students will be challenged, taught as individuals, learn about historical and contemporary world problems in a safe, kind environment, and will develop the tools necessary to shape and improve the world of tomorrow.

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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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