Scott Hartl

Ashoka Fellow
Amherst, United States
Fellow Since 2012
My work: Elevating student achievement by focusing on 3 core areas: character, quality of work & mastery of knowledge.

Check out this video of Scott's work:



Related TopicsChildren & Youth, Early childhood development, Education / Learning


This profile was prepared when Scott Hartl was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
Scott has set out to merge rigorous scholarship with an ethos of active citizenship, by distilling the best practices established by Expeditionary Learning’s network of 4,500 educators into clear principles and tools that can work at scale. Upon assuming the top leadership position at Expeditionary Learning in 2009, Scott set out to transform what had been a growing school network, known primarily within outdoor learning and character education circles, into a robust national learning laboratory capable of changing what teachers teach and how they teach it.

Scott sought to tear down the artificial wall between academic learning and what is widely termed "citizen education," believing that schools can and must have both rigorous academic standards and evaluation, and opportunities through which teachers and students can deepen their critical thinking, creativity, and moral development. Recognizing that without an effective means of measuring project-based learning and deeper thinking skills, educators and policymakers would continue to rely on standardized tests and comparative data points, he is working first to build a powerful evidence base and to demonstrate the value and rigor attached to real-world learning, through the launch of a new repository for student-driven projects. He is likewise developing an adaptable set of measurement tools and standards to assess whether or not students are mastering what have long been considered “soft skills.”

Yet he realized it is not enough to merely proclaim that academic learning could go hand-in-hand with investments in empathy and whole child development: teachers had to be equipped with the skills they needed to meet a more progressive set of standards, and to meaningfully engage students in their learning. Scott is thus working to capture the “secret sauce” behind Expeditionary Learning, creating a suite of curricular modules, instructional practices, student activities, and other materials that teachers can then adapt to their own needs. Finally, he is working to create new market demand by becoming the preeminent curriculum developer and provider of professional development training for teachers looking to meet the newly adopted Common Core Standards. Expeditionary Learning is now working with the state of New York to design curricula and training programs for teachers across the state—an endeavor that will reach several hundred thousand teachers over the course of the coming year—drawing on insights from its current network of 165 elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the country. As the only network of its kind to serve both district public schools and public charters and a range of rural, urban, low-income, and suburban settings, Expeditionary Learning is uniquely poised to change how educators everywhere conceive of their mission and approach.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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