About the school
- About Thornton Creek
- Expeditionary learning
- Classrooms and expeditions
- Thornton Creek tour handout (86 KB PDF)
- 2013 school tours and open house
Frequently asked questions
What does Thornton Creek have to offer my child?
The learning environment at Thornton Creek engages students in academically rigorous exploration and discovery. Our program offers a partnership between teachers, students and parents that emphasizes best effort, high expectations, high quality work, and collaboration. Our curriculum encourages creativity, and promotes academic growth and critical thinking. Students learn to take responsibility for their class work as they work with their ideas through multiple drafts and participate in peer critique. Thornton Creek is a leader among the national coalition of Expeditionary Learning schools, a federally designated New American Schools reform design.
What does alternative mean at Thornton Creek?
Thornton Creek School uses a project- and theme-based curriculum that emphasizes the development of both knowledge and character. Expedition projects culminate in a combination of exhibits, performances, publications and community service projects that highlight student work. Collaboration and teamwork are taught as learning strategies that help students see events from multiple perspectives. Community is developed throughout the school with multi-year classrooms, class partners, daily class meetings, and parents as partners in the classrooms. Portfolios, conferences, student self-evaluations, and teachers’ written comments provide a comprehensive, developmental assessment of student work and achievement.
How to you define "expedition" and "expeditionary learning"?
Expeditionary learning is a proven model for comprehensive school reform for elementary, middle and high schools. It emphasizes learning by doing, with a particular focus on character growth, teamwork, reflection and literacy. Teachers connect high quality academic learning to adventure, service and character development through a variety of student experiences including interdisciplinary, project-based learning expeditions. Each year, classrooms choose a discovery project, governed by guiding questions. (Visit the Thornton Creek School website for descriptions of this year’s expeditions.) We believe expeditionary learning harnesses a child’s natural passion to learn and is a powerful method for developing the curiosity, skills, knowledge, and courage needed to imagine a better world and work toward realizing it.
Are all subjects at Thornton Creek School taught within the expeditionary framework?
Drawing on the classroom’s expedition theme can enrich many academic subjects (such as math, literacy, art, and science), but instruction at Thornton Creek School is not limited to the expedition framework. Expanded curricula in math, spelling, science, writing, etc. are also used in our classrooms.
Is Thornton Creek School a cooperative (co-op) program? How much time will I be expected to volunteer in the classroom?
Although many of the parents who helped design the program in the 1970’s were involved in cooperative preschools, Thornton Creek School is not a formal co-op program. There is no requirement to volunteer in the classroom. However, parents are requested to enrich and support our school community by giving 40 hours of service each year, and many parents give even more (time flies when you’re having fun!). Volunteer activities can be performed at school or from home.
Will my child be ready for middle school?
At Thornton Creek School, peer critique, individual reflection, and collaborative assessment support students in setting high expectations for themselves, and enable them to work independently. Feedback from parents, middle school teachers, and former students makes it clear that our graduates are academically and socially some of the best-prepared students entering local public and private middle schools.
Thornton Creek is very popular. What are my child's chances of getting an assignment to Thornton Creek?
Thornton Creek School currently has two full-day kindergarten classes. We typically have a long wait list for kindergarten. You will retain a guaranteed spot at your neighborhood school until you are assigned to Thornton Creek or another option school.
Does Thornton Creek have on-site before- and after-school childcare?
Yes. Kids Time, a Seattle Parks and Recreation program sponsored by Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center, offers on-site extended daycare. Call 206-729-9538 for information and to check on space availability.
In addition, LEAF is an on-site after-school program that provides recreation and specialty instruction for children 5 days/week. For more information, contact Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center at 206-684-7534.
Is bus transportation available?
Yes. Students residing within the Eckstein Service Area are eligible for district-provided bus transportation. Other restrictions may apply.
When can I visit Thornton Creek to learn more?
Please come to one of our daytime tours or our evening open house.