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Who am I? A Leader of My Own Learning

This video explains the work of EL Education in meeting the national challenge to raise student achievement in our schools. Combining challenging work with the joy of discovery and pride in mastery, EL Education offers the education we would want for every child: one that prepares citizens with both the skills and the character necessary for success throughout college, work and life.
Our portfolio of instructional materials and coaching services draw on 20+ years of success in more than 160 EL Education schools around the country. In addition to success on standardized tests, EL Education students demonstrate critical thinking, intellectual courage and emotional resilience; they possess the passion and the capacity to contribute to a better world.


- Who am I? I suppose is the very first question that men and women alike have spent their entire lives trying to answer. And I suppose the difficulty in the question lies in the fact that one’s life is the proof of that answer.

- Hello and thank you so much for coming. In we’ve been working on an expedition called small acts of courage.

- [Narrator] The remarkable academic success of students in EL education schools has a profound origin.

- Our presentation today is dedicated to interviewees. We thank you for your time and we thank you for your stories.

- [Narrator] EL education model joins academic achievement to character unleashing students hearts and minds towards growth. Students are on a mission to contribute as scholars and citizens to a better world.

- Windsor seven is honored to present our fourth volume collection of oral histories related to the civil rights movement to the African American collection of name.

- Six feet from hydrant, six feet from driveway. Today we’re doing field work and we went out around neighborhoods to see where we would actually put trees. For large trees we have Yellowwood, Green Ash, English ... And we had to visualize and see what kind of tree we’re gonna put there. If it was to make shade. If it was to make the place look better.

- Could be a Japanese

- Length is 24cm. It’s song I could probably imitate it for you.

- [Woman] Okay.

- It’s like, “Shhh”.

- I got involved because we helped start a program called Bird by Bird where we provide birdwatching equipment and act as citizen scientists. And take real data and be a part of this global database that tracks birds.

- It builds a ramp up to it’s nest with sticks, so it just walks out of the water and goes to it’s home.

- That sounds like a very smart bird.

- It very is.

- [Narrator] Students build personal and academic courage to step up as scholars and citizens. They take charge of their own learning, speaking up in class, in the community and giving formal presentations of their growth to public audiences.

- Hello everyone. This whole entire presentation is to prove to everyone that is here that I am ready for a level three.

- My name is Trinity. I am in kindergarten and my school is called elementary school. ♪ With our words, we welcome you. ♪ Here are two of my reading strategies.

- [Trinity] To do a student conference you can be in First Grade, Second Grade, or Third Grade, or Fourth Grade or Fifth Grade, or you can be in Kindergarten.

- When we look deeper into this question, it became clear that the biggest single reason so many kids failed in school was illiteracy. So we decided to try to do something about it ourselves. Our school, the Santa Fe School for the Arts and Sciences, had always taught us to believe that by changing our own character, we could change the world.

- [Narrator] EL Education students are not working only for themselves. They are working to help their classmates as well, supporting each other, critiquing each other, and holding each other accountable for quality.

- [Teacher] His job in First Grade was to draw a butterfly. Austin had to use this photograph as his model. This is called a Tiger Swallowtail.

- I knew it!

- Tell me what would you say? Don’t put those little tail things so pointed in, I think put them more pointed down.

- Let’s look at his last draft. And what do you think?

- He made like a lot of progress, he persevered doing it.

- And the nugget of space here should be a little bit smaller. And the nugget of space here could be bigger.

- I like how your scales are facing, are going the direction of the body is, but something that you can work on, like a stair. Is trying to make all the scales the same size.

- [Student Artist] I had to make them big because you how,

- I have a quote from Mac 1 Scene 7, Macbeth says, “If we should fail,” And Lady Macbeth replies, “We fail but screw your courage for sticking place, “and will not fail.” The Shakespearian language is a very different language than our modern English and what we’re used to. So it definitely did take a lot of academic courage. Especially me, where I came from a different country. And that was definitely a challenge for me, trying to adapt to that new language. The females, when they were more submissive, and just listened to the males.

- [Shakespeare Student] I disagree because in the end it changes. And Macbeth says, “The mind I sway by in the heart I bear,”

- Stepping up to sharing a different idea, or maybe disagreeing with something else, that’s something that is very difficult sometimes. You don’t wanna seem like, oh I don’t agree with you, you’re wrong. But you do wanna share your ideas, and you do wanna you know interpret the text in a different way to challenge them. Back then, the person would have fear of, This school has taught me to push myself. One of my goals is definitely attending college. Something that was not accessible to me before I came to this school at all.

- [Former President Obama] So I’ll end with a great story, Estiven Rodriguez, good looking young guy, right? Could not speak a word of English when he moved to the United States from the Dominican Republic at age nine. Today, he’s one of the tops students in his senior class in Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School, or WHEELS. Last month, he and his classmates put on their WHEELS sweatshirts, and marched down the streets of Washington Heights in New York City, through cheering crowds. Parents, and teachers, neighbors, you would’ve thought it was the Macy’s parade. The march was to the post office, where they mailed in their college applications. And the son of a factory worker, didn’t speak much English just six years ago, won a competitive scholarship to attend Dickinson College this fall.

- [Narrator] Joining academic achievement to character, students in EL Education schools are on a mission to contribute as scholars and citizens, to a better world.

- [Former President Obama] We don’t want these to be the exceptions. We want these to be the rule.

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