Four Rivers School

Greenfield, MA

A Whole Child Expeditionary Learning Affiliate School in Greenfield, MA

“Learning to Make a Difference”

  • Affiliation with Expeditionary Learning Schools  provides a framework for the best practices
  • Emphasis on  high achievement through active learning, character growth, and teamwork.
  • Learning expeditions focus on inquiry and problem solving of real-world problems
  • Community-building, service to others and a commitment to high quality work and behavior    

ETWC Report Summary

Four Rivers is a 7th-12th grade school, primarily serving students residing in the six secondary school districts within Franklin County, MA. The school offers a rigorous college preparatory program aligned with the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks. It also places an emphasis on character development for moral and social responsibility.

Three central themes – nature, technology and community -- guide teaching and learning at the school, engaging students and teachers in a fundamental question of our times: How do we develop healthy, sustainable relationships with the natural world, technology in its many forms, and the human community? The school works closely with parents and seeks both to serve and to learn from the many resources of Franklin County. Three specific characteristics make the school distinctive: 

The first distinctive element is the school’s affiliation with Expeditionary Learning Schools,  a non-profit organization devoted to providing a highly-respected model of school reform. This affiliation provides a framework for the best practices that emphasize high achievement through active learning, character growth, and teamwork. Leaders in EL schools create a professional community that focuses on curriculum and instruction as the primary vehicles for improving student achievement and school culture.This is very much in evidence in Four Rivers. 

A second distinctive element is the framing of curriculum within Learning Expeditions. These challenging, interdisciplinary, real-world projects engage students in actively applying their knowledge and skills in ways that serve both their learning and their community. Students work on core academic standards, critical thinking and literacy skills, and craftsmanship while creating authentic products that are useful or necessary to others.

A third distinctive element is the School Culture and Character. As an Expeditionary Learning  school, Four Rivers builds traditions and practices that support and strengthen the values held as a school community. Faculty and students work together to be keepers of the school’s norms and culture through community-building, service to others and a commitment to high quality work and behavior. This was made apparent in the discussions held with parents and students in the Four Rivers community. 

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