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Realms Middle School

EL Education

REALMS - EL logo and student photo

What Is EL Education?

In 1991, EL Education was born from a partnership between Harvard Graduate School of Education and Outward Bound, USA. The founders of EL Education joined the character-infused philosophy of Outward Bound founder Kurt Hahn, which focuses on teamwork, courage, and compassion with an active approach to learning crafted by leading Harvard scholars and created 10 founding principles for the EL Education model.

“The idea is to put really important and difficult work together with great joy in doing it.”

~ Greg Farrell President Emeritus, Expeditionary Learning

The EL Education network is now a thriving collection of over 150 schools dedicated to challenging students to think critically and take active roles in their classrooms and communities. This results in higher achievement and greater engagement in school. El Education schools give students the academic and character-building skills they need to reach their potential as learners and leaders.

Our Expanded Definition of Student Achievement

At Realms Middle School we believe that student achievement is about more than excellent test scores. In addition to mastering the knowledge and skills needed for success in school (and on standardized tests), we believe that it is our fundamental role to help students develop character and the ability to complete high quality work.

"When a student is finished with school and moves into adult life, she will be judged not by her ability to perform on a test of basic skills, but by the quality of her work and character,” Ron Berger, EL Education.

Mastery of Knowledge and Skills

Students at Realms Middle School work towards proficiency and a deep understanding of the knowledge and skills in each academic discipline.


At Realms Middle School, we have selected three Habits of Work (HOWs) and three Habits of Character and Community (HOCCs) that anchor our commitment to helping our students become young adults of exceptional character. Through intentionally designed activities and curriculum, our students learn to become: effective learners, ethical people, engaged citizen scholars

High Quality Work

The ability to create work of value and quality is a high ideal at Realms Middle School. We believe that it is important to help students build an ethic for and ability to identify "quality work" using the following three descriptors:

  1. Complexity – work that demonstrates higher order thinking and connection to the big ideas of the discipline
  2. Craftsmanship – work that aspires to accuracy and beauty in both conception and execution
  3. Authenticity – work that demonstrates original thinking, passion, connection to real-world issues and/or serves a real purpose in our community



EL Education Credentialing Portfolio

In November of 2016 Realms Middle School was recognized with a national credential for exceeding the EL Education standards of student achievement, which measure three dimensions of student achievement: academic performance, high-quality work, and positive character!

Over the past year and a half the staff at Realms Middle School have been compiling an electronic portfolio of evidence demonstrating excellence in student outcomes linked to progressive teaching practices. You can view our digital portfolio here.