Students at The College School never sit in class and wonder: “When will I use this in real life?”

At The College School, students learn by going off campus, collaborating with experts, and creating solutions to real-world problems. We don’t teach to the test, drill worksheets, or learn content just for the sake of doing so. Instead, students master physics by designing and building their own roller coasters or learn financial literacy by starting their own businesses.

Students explore the world through authentic experiences. Along the way, they are part of a close-knit community that allows them to be who they are and to use their voice. It’s no wonder students love coming to school.

“At The College School, I learned that caring about the environment is a lifelong task and one that is paramount. I learned that I have the agency to enact change no matter the barriers. I learned that it is important to stand up for your peers and care about those in your community.”

Grace Wagner, Class of 2015

This week's #FacultyFriday spotlight is Middle School teacher, Darel Shelton! Darel joined TCS last year after working at Forsyth School since 1996. Before that, he worked for the St. Louis Public Schools and the American Youth Foundation. His teaching experience includes Language Arts and World History, and, for many years, he was Forsyth School's Outdoor Education Director. He also served as Upper Division Director for six years. Darel was well known to TCS faculty, particularly for his work on the Steering Committee of the Experiential Educational Exchange. He chaired the Social Studies and Character Education Committees at Forsyth for many years. He received the Emerson Electric Excellence in Teaching Award and was named an Independent Schools of St. Louis Teacher of Distinction. Earning a BA in History and African-American Studies from Carleton College with a MA in Teaching from Washington University, Darel is also an EE Ford Fellowship recipient and an NEH Fellow. >>You clearly have adventure education in your blood. What makes it such an impactful way to teach and learn? I have always felt that the most impactful teaching "leaves a mark." I was fortunate a few years ago to spend personal time with Jane Elliott, who created the famous (and infamous) Brown Eyes/Blue Eyes experiential exercise in the 1960s. We spoke about both the power and perils of experiential learning--you want to design experiences that stretch students' comfort zones while being careful not to traumatize them. When hanging a child over the edge of a cliff or entering a stretch of whitewater, this can be a tricky thing to navigate as an educator. You get to be present during moments of unprecedented growth that students will never forget. I've been teaching long enough to have former students who are well into adulthood now, and when I see them, what they invariably remember are the experiences that taught them they could do a little more than they thought they could do. The moments that stay with them--that's what it's all about for me. Sadly, nobody ever remembers that brilliant essay topic I assigned.

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