At Wellspring, we believe a quality Catholic education ought to educate the whole person – forming excellent people with the skills, character, and faith to live fulfilled, mission-driven lives that glorify God. Through our partnership with EL Education (formerly, “Expeditionary Learning”), we offer an education rooted in perseverance, craftsmanship, curiosity, responsibility, risk-taking, collaboration, and care for the the natural world. In EL, we have a model of learning that enables us to root our students in values that will not only serve others but serve our environment, our communities, our faith, and our futures.
As a Catholic EL School, we engage students in growth-oriented, character-building, purposeful, academic work; work that allows students to produce pride-worthy, high-quality work of consequence; work that is rooted in the pursuit of truth, beauty, and goodness in ourselves and in the world around us. Through targeted professional development, innovative school structures, and ardent intentionality to improving our classroom practices, we facilitate real-world encounters and authentic learning experiences for our students that open their hearts and minds to their own potential and give them an opportunity to put their learning and their very lives in service of others and our God. We seek not only to produce “smart kids,” but forming good kids – young people with deep faith, sharp intellect, healthy habits, large hearts, and rich knowledge to themselves and their dignity in the eyes of God.
En Wellspring, creemos que una educación católica de calidad debe educar a toda la persona, formando personas excelentes con las habilidades, el carácter y la fe para vivir una vida plena y dirigida por la misión que glorifique a Dios. A través de nuestra asociación con EL Education (anteriormente, “Aprendizaje expedicionario”), ofrecemos una educación basada en la perseverancia, la artesanía, la curiosidad, la responsabilidad, la toma de riesgos, la colaboración y el cuidado del mundo natural. En EL, tenemos un modelo de aprendizaje que nos permite enraizar a nuestros estudiantes en valores que no solo servirán a los demás, sino que también servirán a nuestro medio ambiente, nuestras comunidades, nuestra fe y nuestro futuro.
Como una escuela católica de EL, involucramos a los estudiantes en un trabajo académico orientado al crecimiento, de desarrollo del carácter y con un propósito; trabajo que permite a los estudiantes producir un trabajo de consecuencia digno de orgullo y de alta calidad; trabajo que se basa en la búsqueda de la verdad, la belleza y la bondad en nosotros mismos y en el mundo que nos rodea. A través del desarrollo profesional dirigido, las estructuras escolares innovadoras y la ardiente intencionalidad para mejorar nuestras prácticas en el aula, facilitamos encuentros del mundo real y experiencias de aprendizaje auténticas para nuestros estudiantes que abren sus corazones y mentes a su propio potencial y les dan la oportunidad de poner su aprendizaje y sus vidas al servicio de los demás y de nuestro Dios. Buscamos no solo producir “niños inteligentes”, sino también formar buenos niños: jóvenes con una fe profunda, intelecto agudo, hábitos saludables, corazones grandes y un rico conocimiento de sí mismos y de su dignidad ante los ojos de Dios.

What Is EL Education // Expeditionary Learning?

As both a model of learning and a partner organization, EL does not govern schools; rather, EL partners with schools like ours to support high achievement and student impact through the implementation of EL’s high-leverage, research-backed classroom instructional practices.

At its core, EL Education, formerly called Expeditionary Learning, is focused not simply on the mastery of knowledge and skills, but on forming good people with the intellect, character, courage, and tenacity to contribute to a better world. As a Catholic EL School, we empower students through deep learning and real work to take their learning beyond the classroom and elevate their community. Our young people become “Be doers of the word, not hearers only.” – James 1:22.

Having its origins in Outward Bound, the famed outdoor experiential learning program founded by Kurt Hahn in the early 1900’s, EL believes that great people aren’t born, but formed through profound experiences of real challenge, radical compassion, necessary collaboration, awe-inducing adventure, and meaningful service. This kind of learning doesn’t happen just sitting in desks, but through thoughtfully-designed learning experiences, like Crew & Learning Expeditions, to name a few.
​As a Catholic EL school, we strive to be a community where everyone – students, teachers, & families – are honored for their dignity and unique gifts, challenged to become the greatest version of themselves, supported to reach their highest aspirations, nurtured in their souls, and inspired to achieve more than they thought possible. To accomplish this, we rely on the consistent sustenance and spark that comes from prayer and the sacraments, as well as our steadfast commitment to the Catholic schools’ legacy of rigorous, mastery-oriented, values-driven learning. However, we also rely deeply on many unique EL structures and practices that make our vision a reality.


Crew is both a community structure and a pervasive ethos. Crews are small, adult-led groups of students within the larger community where everyone is known deeply and cared for – they meet everyday and foster character growth and healthy relationships. But equally important is the spirit of “crew,” a pervasive mindset of collaboration and communality: “We are crew, not passengers.” Through Crew, students learn to be compassionate, contributing community members who rely on one another, create together, and celebrate one another’s success, while also discerning one’s unique gifts and talents through frequent opportunities for prayer, solitude, and reflection.


Learning Expeditions are long-term studies that connect classroom learning to real-world issues. Instead of studying chemistry from a textbook, students in our schools work with experts and community groups to study the health of the water in our local river, then produce and present a report about their findings to a local foundation in order to educate the public. Through learning expeditions, students encounter meaningful issues, conduct real fieldwork, grapple with large questions, produce authentic work for an audience beyond the school, and use their learning to impact the world.


High Quality Work is the fulfilling result of dedicated effort and deep learning, like producing and publishing a student-created children’s book of tales from South Sudan or creating postcards and a website detailing the history of our local Catholic church & neighborhood. Through the creation of high-quality work, students learn to create excellent work that is worthy of genuine pride and celebration. This kind of work both arises from and gives rise to a culture of craftsmanship, revision, & perseverance.


Adventures and excursions into the outdoors – a core tenet of Outward Bound, the organization that gave rise to EL Education – take students out of their comfort zones and immerse them in the beauty and immensity of the natural world. Through adventures into nature, wonder and curiosity are born in students, as well as strong personal relationships and communal bonds. Students learn to confront their fears, help one another, be present to their surroundings and their community, and marvel at the beauty of creation.


Acts of Consequential Service strengthen the community and open the heart. Through engagement in meaningful service-learning that is connected to their classroom expeditions, students expand the limits of their generosity and learn to be active participants in their community who use their learning to make a positive, productive difference in the lives of others, without expecting anything in return.


Habits of Scholarship name the character traits of successful learners and people, & form the foundation of robust character education and a culture of student ownership. As part of this culture, three times per year, students prepare and direct their own “Student-Led” parent-teacher conferences, and at the end of 8th grade, students present a “Passage Presentation” to a panel of family & community members defending their readiness to graduate and be sent forth. These structures support and encourage students to develop these necessary traits to become responsible leaders of their own learning and of their lives.


Professional Development is an investment in the training, growth, and formation of educators. Through intentional and directed professional development, teachers are equipped with innovative, research-based strategies to facilitate incredible learning opportunities for kids, while being honored for the interests, expertise, and creativity they bring to their work with their students. Through excellent PD, teachers are supported and challenged to become the best educators they can be.

Our Staff Crew

EL Design Principles