Series: Expeditionary Learning Deeper Learning

Crew: Check-in and Support
Lesson Objective: Meet regularly to check-in with support students
Grades 6-12 / All Subjects / Engagement

Thought starters

  1. How is the Crew structure similar to, or different from, other advisory or homeroom structures?
  2. Many students feel that Crew was the most important factor in compelling them to graduate and go to college. What features of Crew do you think are most important in this?
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  • Crew: Check-in and Support Transcript


    Teacher: One announcement for you. We now are meeting for Crew every Monday through Friday.

    Teacher: If you’ve

    Crew: Check-in and Support Transcript


    Teacher: One announcement for you. We now are meeting for Crew every Monday through Friday.

    Teacher: If you’ve got something to say, say it.

    Student: I trust all of you guys.

    Student: You guys all helped me just come out of my comfort zone.

    Teacher: Andrew, a personal goal?

    Student: To listen and concentrate more and don’t be distracted.

    Teacher: Is that hard for you?

    Student: Sorta.

    Teacher: Can you give us an example of why that’s hard for you?

    Teacher: The Crew structure is a really key structure. When I went to high school, I went to a big, comprehensive high school, 2,500 kids. Nobody tracked kids unless they were failing.

    In this school, you join a Crew in sixth grade, and you have those same dozen kids with you for three years and that same Crew leader making sure that you don’t fall behind. Then, you hit ninth grade, and you have another Crew for four straight years. You watch those kids, and you make sure they support each other, they all make it.

    Teacher: Here we are. We have, what, three or four days left together as a Crew. This is a time for us to just think about where we’ve been, and Leslie’s gonna facilitate our discussion.

    Student: What challenges have you faced in the past seven years? How did you get through them?

    Student: As a Crew, and I’m probably speaking for everyone in here, I think we certainly faced a problem with stability.

    Teacher: Each morning they share their feelings, their academic progress, and their problems with their peers, so public explanations of their growth as scholars and as human beings is built into the day here. That reflective depth and that courage to speak up, to me, is very much at the heart of deeper learning.

    Teacher: We have just finished up our third quarter.

    Teacher: Crew is a place that we spend a half an hour three days a week, one hour two days a week, and where we get to know students on a personal and academic level.

    Student: It is a target 01:57. I can set some goals, use ‘em 02:01 on my quarter three report card, habit of work [cross talk 02:04].

    Teacher: Crew has a structure just like class, and so kids get credit for the Crew. We have unit plans in Crew, college readiness. We’ve done career, student led conferences.

    Teacher: We give kids this opportunity to really reflect on what they’ve done well so far, what their goals are, and what are the challenges that they’ve either overcome to get where they are or the challenges that they can anticipate as they move forward.

    Teacher: I have printed your standard based grades, and so you’re going to look through them, and you’re going to set one academic goal, one habit of work goal, and one personal goal. You guys have about six minutes.

    Today, we were doing some goal setting, and we were looking to see where the students were, how far they’ve come, and setting small goals to finish off the year strong.

    Victoria, what do you have for an academic goal?

    Student: The goal that I have for academic is to share my answers to a group and not be afraid to show my answers.

    Teacher: Has that been a struggle for you?

    Student: Yeah.

    Teacher: Can you be specific?

    Student: I have a hard time trying to figure out if the answer is right or wrong, and then later if I know it was right and I didn’t share out.

    Teacher: Okay. Again, having some courage; one of our community commitment traits, being able to express even when you are wrong, so that way we can learn from our mistakes. That’s when the best learning happens, right? We talked about that. Nice job.

    Thea, can you share a habit of work?

    Student: Try to get all my habit of work grades up to a three or three point five or four.

    Teacher: How do you do that?

    Student: By focusing more on class and being more specific with my explanations.

    Teacher: Perfect 03:48.

    Some of the challenges that I have right now with a sixth grade Crew that I didn’t have with the high school Crew is just their social interactions and their maturity and their awareness of long-term goals and what they are going to be shooting for being at the Springfield Renaissance School.

    Now what I’d like you guys to do is share what you’ve written with each other, okay? Give each other some warm and cool feedback.

    Student: Instead of explaining what you have, you could explain, like over here, your personal goal, how you could get that up.

    Student: Yeah. I didn’t have enough time for that.

    Student: You can just tell me how you got it up.

    Student: I’m not very much of a tired person. I’m always an active person. That’s why I always try to do sports when the season starts.

    Teacher: Let’s just have one person share out what feedback you gave to your partner as far as their goal setting. Michaela 04:41?

    Student: She was very specific in her goals. She specified in what habit of work she wants to improve on and what character trait she wants to show.

    Teacher: Nice job. What is for homework? Who can remind me of homework?

    Student: Share goals with families.

    Teacher: Okay. To share your papers with your families. Okay, so make sure you guys go home and have those conversations with them
    [05:00] today.

    Student: How are you finishing up this year?

    Student: I’m finishing up and passing all my classes. It’s my first year without summer school [applause].

    Teacher: Good job.

    Teacher: It’s your family. They make sure you stay on track as a scholar and as a person.

    Student: At the moments that we all need each other, we’re most definitely there.

    Student: Crew has been a constant for me in my life. It takes a while for me to let people in, so having people around for four years and I didn’t have a fear of them leaving me, it was really nice to come to every morning.

    Teacher: It’s what keeps kids focused and grounded in terms of who they are and who they can become, and that’s a huge personal social challenge.

    [End of Audio]

School Details

The Springfield Renaissance School
1170 Carew Street
Springfield MA 01104
Population: 689

Data Provided By:



Maria Ekmalian
Keith Wright
Ron Berger
Dr. Stephen Mahoney


TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement

TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement

TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Collaboration