Expeditionary Learning

Expeditionary Learning

Expeditionary Learning (ExL) is a program for students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. Located at Lawrence Jones Middle School (LJMS) in Rohnert Park. ExL offers an exciting curriculum that combines traditional classroom content and skills with real-world problem solving and expeditions outside of the classroom. Connecting academics and real-world expeditions, ExL encourages students to reach their full potential by cultivating intellectual growth, character, and confidence. Student’s from all over Sonoma County attend the ExL program.

The program is centered around four main principles: Explore, Learn, Connect, Act. Our students strive for academic excellence; work both independently and in teams; create innovative solutions to real-world problems; develop environmental, cultural, and social awareness; and engage in conservation and community service projects. Our students have a positive impact in the world around them.

Supporting education and exploration.

Capturing the passion for learning . Our core subject areas include English Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies.

Explore: Exploring is an integral part of our program. We believe students benefit from hands-on learning both inside and outside the classroom. Students spend time outside of the classroom working in the field and engaging firsthand with subject matter experts. The ExL teachers challenge, support, and inspire the students to realize their potential.

Learn: Students learn core academics and the arts through interdisciplinary projects to gain a deep understanding of the subject matter. We believe that students of all learning styles and abilities not only can learn, but want to learn. Students learn a wide range of content and skills and they regularly have the opportunity to apply their learning in real-world contexts.

Connect: Service learning is an important element for academic achievement. Each trimester, students reach out and engage in their community by connecting with local organizations. Students contribute to their community through volunteerism and experience the benefit of helping their fellow citizens. Students gain experience that is impossible to teach in a classroom.

Act: Integrating service projects into the curriculum and expeditions allows ExL students to put their learning into action. The ExL program is designed to meet the needs of hardworking, active middle school students. Students work together in groups on classroom projects, planning expeditions, and helping each other succeed.


Educators are innovators.

Taking students outside of the classroom and applying their learning in concrete, real-world ways creates a deeper, long-lasting education. Students apply principles they have learned both in the classroom and on expeditions in their daily learning.

Students will participate in a number of expeditions each year. In addition to expeditions, there are both individual and group projects in class designed to give students a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Past expeditions include:

  • Alliance Redwoods Outdoor Ed: Conservation, Ecology, Geology, environmental relationships, human relationships and natural resources are some of the areas of learning in the outdoor science school curriculum.
  • China Camp State Park: Students visit the Immigration Station at Angel Island, China Town, Shrimping Village.  Three day expedition. 
  • Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Students study, perform a scene, and view a Shakespeare play in Ashland, Oregon. Students attend a variety of plays and camp outside of Ashland, Oregon.
  • Mount Lassen: Students visit many geological features including volcanoes, lava tube, sulfur vents, and boiling pools. Students gain firsthand knowledge about plate tectonics and the earth's structure, how the earth’s surface was shaped, and history.
  • Yosemite: Students visit the beautiful Yosemite Valley and work on conservation, discovery, and exploration projects.
  • Monterey Bay: Students learn about migration, and the local habitat by visiting Monterey Bay Aquarium, Point Lobos, whale watching, Monarch butterfly preserve, and elephant seal watching at Ano Nuevo.

Expedition Supply List


  • Durable hooded rain jacket and rain pants
  • Hiking boots – Properly fitted, broken in and waterproof-able
  • Hiking socks - wool or synthetic, NOT cotton
  • Underwear
  • Long underwear – depending on the weather
  • Shirts – long and short sleeved
  • Pants – jeans or other durable long pants
  • Pajamas
  • Hat – to shade your face or warm your head
  • Gloves – depending on weather
  • Bath towels
  • Toiletries/shower flip flops
  • Personal Items – toothbrush/paste, brush/comb,

Individual Equipment:

  • Day pack (a regular backpack is ok but not their school backpack) – with garbage bag liner (required for all expeditions)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Labeled stuff-sacks
  • Labeled bag for clothes and personal items
  • Small headlamp or flashlight
  • Sunscreen, lip balm, hat, and sunglasses
  • Personal labeled durable mess kit (plate, bowl, cup, fork, spoon)
  • Digital wristwatch to be worn and used on all expeditions
  • Garbage Bags – for protecting pack and other gear from rain
  • Two water bottles – liter size
  • Notebook/pencil/sharpener/pens

Optional Gear:

  • Sock liners
  • Prescription medicine
  • Paperback book
  • Camera

Please do not bring the following:

  • Cell phones/mobile devices are not allowed on the trip. Leave them at home. If students need to contact someone they may ask to borrow a teacher's or chaperone's phone.
  • Hair dryers, curling irons/straighteners, food, gum, candy, cookies, soda, knives, electronic games iPad/tablets/iPods/MP3 are not allowed.
  • Please label all clothing and personal items to prevent loss. Please make sure all clothing is comfortable and can get dirty.

Parent Chaperones

Parent chaperones are an integral part of our program. For the majority of the expeditions, parents drive and chaperone small groups.

Steps for Chaperoning

  1. Complete the Driver Certification Form for any vehicles and drivers you know will be driving.

  2. Any vehicle you drive to chaperone an expedition must be inspected by the school’s administration. There will be an opportunity to do this at the summer BBQ.

  3. Bring a copy of your registration, driver’s license, proof of insurance and insurance declarations page to your car inspection. *If you have emailed your forms in, you do not need to bring a copy.

  4. All chaperones for any trips must be approved through the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District volunteer application process 30 days prior to the trip.  Click here for the district volunteer form. Questions regarding fingerprinting and eligibility status should be directed to the LJMS office. ExLPA does not have access to that information.

  5. Coordinating teacher will submit the chaperone list to LJMS/CRPUSD Human Resources to confirm the parent is an approved volunteer.

Expeditionary Learning Parents Association (ExLPA)

ExL families are engaged in our learning community and are essential to the success of our students and the program.  ExLPA supports the program through fundraising activities, donations, and planning events. Our Parent volunteers are crucial to the program’s success - they drive on expeditions, help with projects, perform administrate duties, participate in fundraising activities, and run the ExLPA Board.

The Cotati Rohnert Park Unified School District (CRPUSD) pays for teacher salaries, health benefits, classroom equipment and furnishings as well as school textbooks and materials.  Expedition costs and other materials required to run a successful program are funded by family payments and supplemented with fundraising.  All grades have monthly payments of $125 from August - May for the 2022-2023 school year.

The ExLPA encourages any family in need to apply for financial assistance. We do not want payment of the program to be a burden on any family. Financial assistance may be as short as one month or as long as one academic year. All requests for financial assistance are kept confidential and does not affect a student’s participation in expeditions, group projects, or their academics.


Expeditionary Learning Parent Association

an academic program at Lawrence Jones Middle School
PO Box 1277, Rohnert Park, CA 94928


We’ve done our best to answer the questions that we get asked most frequently. If your question isn’t below, or you would like more information, please reach out to us. We love to tell people about the program!

What is the process to apply for ExL?

To apply for ExL, students and families need to complete an application. The application consists of a student essay and a teacher recommendation. Application packets for the 2023-2024 are closed. The 2024-2025 school year will be available in January 2024. Keep an eye out for the Information Night as the date gets closer.

Do I need to live in the CRPUSD boundaries to attend ExL?

All students are encouraged to apply for ExL regardless of their home school district. Some students may need to complete an Intra-District Request (to be completed when the student lives outside of the schools attendence zone. To see your schools attendence zone click here ), and some students may need to complete an Inter-District Request (to be completed if family does not live within the boundaries of CRPUSD). Both of these forms are attached to the ExL Application.

Can my student participate in sports/activities and be in ExL?

We encourage students to be active members of their community. We have had many successful students who have played sports and excel in the ExL program. Students also participate in other after-school activities such as the school play, school clubs, and other interest groups. Student will need to communicate with their coaches and teachers to coordinate expeditions with games/performances/functions. ExL works with students to accommodate scheduling needs.

How can I support the ExL program?

CRPUSD pays for teacher salaries, health benefits, classroom equipment and furnishings as well as school textbooks and materials.  Expedition costs and other materials required to run a successful program are funded by family donations and supplemented with Expeditionary Learning Parent Association (ExLPA) fundraising.  Families may be asked to donate up to $140/month per enrolled student from August - May. This donation request may change based on scheduled expeditions for each year.