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What are Friday Explorations?

It’s Friday at The Gregory School. Ten middle school students work with a University of Arizona biologist and her graduate students to catch, measure, and band birds on our campus. A van full of upper schoolers arrives at TMC for Seniors to help senior citizens use their technology. A sophomore directs a multi-age group making a short narrative film about two friends, one of whom is moving away. These are but three of the thousands of Friday Explorations that we have offered to our students since creating the program, a unique experiment in experiential learning, in 2015.

Every Friday that is part of a regular five-day school week is devoted to Friday Explorations. All students in grades 5 - 12 work with their advisors to select, from a huge variety of options, four special Friday classes that are not part of their regular weekly school schedule.

These classes, called Explorations, may be related to something a student is already studying—for example, Mandarin students may have the option of playing Chinese games in Mandarin—or something entirely different, such as working in a team to design a water filtration system for the farmyard duck pond.

How are Explorations organized?

All Explorations are rooted in one of four pathways:

Explorations in the arts challenge students to use the elements of creativity, design production, innovation, and self expression to practice and refine their artistic skills.
Explorations in the humanities offer rich and immersive learning experiences based in literature, history, social sciences, languages and culture.
Explorations in STEM offer immersive hands-on experiences in science, technology, engineering and math.
Personal and Community Wellness
Personal and Community Wellness explorations give students the chance to grow their own physical, mental and spiritual health, as well as contributing to the overall wellness of their school and civic communities.

As students move through the grades from middle school to the later years of upper school, they are able to trace their pathways, providing them not only with insights into how their choices aligned with, helped form, or augmented their interests and passions, but also with a vision for their future pursuits. In fact, by senior year, students' Exploration Pathways have evolved into an electronic portfolio, which becomes a valuable, engaging, and unique component of their college applications.

Are students in the same Explorations every Friday?

Some Explorations meet for multiple Fridays. Others just meet once. They may be open to all students or specifically designed for certain grade levels. Grade levels and the number of meetings are listed along with titles and descriptions when students sign up. As with everything we do at The Gregory School, Friday Explorations are customized and personalized.

Who teaches Friday Explorations?

Friday Explorations are taught by TGS faculty, but students, parents, and guest experts also have the opportunity lead Explorations in their areas of interest and expertise, under the supervision of a TGS teacher. Explorations also include teacher-led off-campus events such as field trips and community service projects.

Read more about Fridays at The Gregory School in the news!

This Arizona Daily Star feature provides an excellent glimpse into a day of Explorations at TGS.