Hiking off of Donner SummitHiking off of Donner SummitAt SELS, we use adventure to help teach the character and culture aspects of our curriculum, enhancing the character work that is done in the classroom and at crew or community meetings. We believe that taking appropriate risks—pushing the edge of our comfort zones, and realizing that there is more in us than we ever knew—are critical to becoming the best people we can be.

In Expeditionary Learning, adventure is an approach to learning that promotes risk-taking and courage that can exist in a classroom as well as in natural settings. In either case, students have experiences that are challenging and relevant, including occasions when they are on the brink of both success and failure - both are equally instructive.


How adventure looks at SELS:

Trust SequenceTrust Sequence

Grizzly Adventure—This experience is a sort of orientation for certain crews at the beginning of the school year, a time to bond as a crew and establish character norms. Students go to the woods for a four-day experience that includes team building, low and high ropes course initiatives, drama, singing, campfires, readings, service projects to improve the area, and sensory-based night hikes.

Trust Sequence—in the classroom, around campus, and in the surrounding community, students use challenge to build trust among their crew in a sequence from blindfolded partner walks, to trust leans, and sometimes even trust falls.

Camping—Students get a chance to practice living, learning, and even being comfortable in the natural world. Sense of place, observation skills development, and a sense of crew are our top priorities, but we never fail to have a lot of fun while we’re out there!

Camping CrewCamping Crew

Hiking, climbing, and kayaking and other outdoor activities are on the menu of outdoor adventures that take us further afield. We use the natural world as our teacher to spark students’ sense of wonder, and also harness the excitement of emotional challenges to build stronger bonds among us.


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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.

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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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