What is Crew?

One of the foundational credos of Expeditionary Learning is “We are Crew, Not Passengers.” This metaphor refers to a group in a boat on a long voyage, where everyone is needed to pull at an oar and no one sits by watching. In adhering to this motto, “Crew” can be used to reference both individual classrooms and the entire school community. We strive to instill a sense of responsibility, participation, and cooperation among individuals, the student body, the school community, and the greater community. This motto represents our commitment to inclusion and action in the service of self and others.susan's crew

At Centennial our goal is to bring our community together, promote shared understandings and encourage all community members to become Crew, not passengers. Far more than a traditional classroom, one’s “Crew” is a tightly knit family unit that begins every single day of school with a morning meeting, deepening relationships, team building, sharing, developing group norms, and shaping and reshaping their culture. Teachers and students listen actively and attentively to one another. In crew, students re-define what it means to be a learning community that really supports and challenges one another. Because of our looping and multi-age model, students develop stronger bonds over a two-year span with their crew leaders and peers. In addition they also establish and support relationships school wide through buddy systems and Community Circle.

Respect, Responsibility, Leadership, Determination and Wonder

Centennial’s crew structure will allow for the development of the following character traits- Respect, Responsibility, Leadership, Determination and Wonder. All members of the Centennial community will support the implementation and success of Crew.

Goals of Crew:

Support the core Expeditionary Learning Design Principles in relation to building respect, responsibility, courage and kindness.


  • The Primacy of Self-Discovery (I am here to discover what I can do)
  • The Having of Wonderful Ideas (I have wonderful ideas)
  • The Responsibility of Learning (I am responsible for learning and I help others learn)
  • Empathy and Caring (I care for others and others care for me)
  • Success and Failure (Success is sweet, but mistakes are good food)
  • Collaboration and Competition (We work together as friends, I compete with myself)
  • Diversity and Inclusion (Our differences make us stronger)
  • The Natural World (Nature is our Teacher)
  • Solitude and Reflection (I need time to be with myself)
  • Service and Compassion (We do excellent things for each other)



We rarely get better at something without ongoing assessment. Schools need to provide opportunities for students to get feedback. Students need time to reflect on how they see themselves, how others see them, and how they want to be seen in relation to the Design Principles.

  • Reflect regularly on the Design Principles, (for example during lunch, and post examples of students who live them)
  • Spend five minutes at the end of the day giving each other feedback about the Design Principles they saw represented in each other.
  • Teachers make sure students know/understand learning targets (focus on one skill/ concept at a time)
  • Cooperatively establish and set goals aligned with each of the Design Principles.
  • Students self assess regularly, giving specific examples and using reflection, critique, rubrics, goal trackers, or other student friendly means, as part of the reflective practice during various components of crew, (morning meeting, crew meetings, closing circle, buddy time, community circle, etc…)
  • Self assessment includes reflecting on goal setting in general. They organize their portfolios and reflect on strengths, challenges, and goals (including “What will help me meet my goals?”) Students consider their ‘Next Steps”
  • Crew Leader (teacher) assesses student participation during crew, their ability to establish goals and reflect on personal and group progress.
  • Students and teachers collaboratively reflect on data as a way to track progress towards goals.