August 19, 2021
September 1 – Registration Paperwork Due
September 7 – First Day of School 9AM to 4PM
September 8-10 – Student Orientation at Washington State Park
September 14 All-parent night 6-7pm
September 20-24 High School Backpacking trip at Mt. Baker Lake
September 29-10/1 Middle School Backpacking Trip at Larrabee State Park
A letter from the Head of School: Why Explore? Food
This fall, EA is offering Food clusters for both high school and middle school. Learners will be exploring their personal relationships with food, the relationships between our community and food, and the impact of those relationships on the environment locally and worldwide. As we explore this topic, they are constantly edging to reflect on, “what is the future of food and our individual and collective roles and responsibilities to that future?” As I explore our local food systems, I met with Mike Cohen, executive director of the Bellingham Food Bank, to discuss systemic food access issues and ways EA learners can support healthy food systems here. Another reason why explore.
Family Picnic Information
Our Family Orientation/Potluck dinner will be taking place Wednesday, September 1st from 6pm until 8pm at Lake Padden Park. I am beyond excited to meet more of the families and students who breathe life into our school. I’ve included a labelled map of the entrance and park space we have reserved. Families should enter the park via the “East entrance” near the golf course. It is a large area with 2 shelters, a playground, volleyball, and basketball court.
I shared a google spreadsheet with parents last week so we can evenly distribute food contributions. Please remember that ALL registration paperwork for students is due on the Picnic date. If you are unable to make it to the picnic, let me know and I will send an email out lining important key points afterward.
We will be taking some precautionary measures this year to keep everything as sanitary as possible and to keep our families safe, healthy, and happy:
1. Food will be served by volunteers wearing masks and gloves. If you would like to volunteer by serving, helping set up, or cleaning up during this event (and knock out some of those hours!) Please click on the link here
2. We ask the everyone wear a mask when in immediate proximity to the tables containing the food to be served.
3. We will provide hand sanitizer and encourage families to utilize this regularly during the picnic both before and after eating and when approaching the food table.
4. In the interest of sanitation, we will be providing disposable plates, cups utensils etc.
Marley and Daniel will serve the 2021- 2022 school year as EA’s Lead Core Faculty. This is both a recognition of the increasing leadership they have demonstrated throughout their respective tenures and of their formal role supporting the development of the learning experience 6- 12.
Please welcome Dash Potter, Lee Kulinna, and Quinn Wilson who will join our staff this year!
Quinn Wilson: High School Science/ Social Studies
Quinn was born and raised in Washington state, where he received a Bachelor of Arts at Western Washington University, and a Masters in Teaching at Northwest University. He initially pursued museum work, focusing on experimental archeology, material culture, and traditional crafts – including historic construction methods, leatherworking, and blacksmithing – and discovered there that his favorite way to both learn and teach is through interactive experiences.
Curiosity is the center of Quinn’s love of education, nature, and travel. It led him to work for several years as a coach and outdoor guide in Montana, walk from Mexico to Canada via the Pacific Crest Trail, and to compete in archery tournaments in 11 countries. His other hobbies include scuba diving, photography, and guitar.
Lee Kulinna: Middle School Math
Lee grew up in Pittsburgh as a Steeler fan in the Seventies. He rowed during his undergraduate years at Marietta College and continued his pursuit of rowing in Seattle while attending graduate school at Western Washington University. Following graduate school he coached rowing, led sea kayaking trips, and taught middle school English at The Bush School in Seattle. His curiosity for experiential education practices led him to return to Pittsburgh to help start two schools where he taught high school English. Concerned with forces at work against urban students he explored support programs for urban high schools graduating less than 50% of their students for his doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania. After acknowledging the complexities surrounding urban education he decided to return to Seattle and coach rowing while pursuing his passions of boat making and horticulture. After spending weekends driving to Neah Bay to sea kayak, Lee decided to teach in Neah Bay and paddle the big water for a few years. He is looking forward to sharing archery with students, taking students paddling, sharing his passion for boatbuilding, approaching math from a holistic perspective, and joining the community of Explorations Academy.
Dash Potter: Middle School Science/ Language Arts
Growing up in Wisconsin, Dash developed his love for the outdoors as a kid, paddling on lakes and climbing the highest trees in the forest. At 12 years old, he discovered the magic of the Boundary Waters and began embarking on backpacking and canoeing trips and hasn’t stopped since. After graduating high school, Dash followed his passion for the outdoors and began working as a backcountry guide leading trips from Montana to Alaska. Wanting to pursue his love of the outdoors as a career, he went on to study Outdoor Education, Environmental Studies and Music at Northland College in Northern Wisconsin while continuing guiding in the summers. Looking for more adventure after graduating college, Dash spent some time motorcycling in Vietnam and fly fishing in New Zealand. His travels landed him in the Tetons (on the Idaho side), where he has spent the last few years working at Grand Targhee Resort in the winters and as an outdoor educator in the summers. He has spent the last few months in a Kayak working for the Community Boating Center teaching and guiding on the beautiful Bellingham Bay. Dash believes that the outdoors can be an incredible tool in the lifelong journey of education. Placed-based education is at the core of his educational philosophy, as it represents the ultimate connector of people to place. The fulfillment of working in the outdoors community and the opportunity to connect people to the natural world is what inspires Dash to continue his career in the outdoors industry. He couldn’t be more excited to continue on this path and join the Explorations Academy community!
Let’s celebrate Nora and Jay who are transitioning this year to another season in their careers. Here are some words from them to the EA community:
For most of my life, the end of the summer translated to the start of a new school year. As the days shortened, the excitement and possibilities of a new year grew. For me, however, this fall brings a change. I will not be returning to EA this year as I’ve accepted a year-long position as a ranch manager on a piece of property outside of Cle Elum, WA, in the Teanaway.
The chance to live in that area and work on the land there is an incredible opportunity, and one which fulfills a dream I’ve had for a long time. This was an incredibly difficult decision, as it means I will be missing out on all of the amazing lessons, projects, and trips we’ve been planning all summer. In addition, it means I have to say goodbye to the awesome students, supportive families, and wonderful staff at EA.
I plan on being at the Family Orientation Picnic before school starts so I can see you all and say goodbye. I’ll be making frequent trips back to Bellingham this year so there’s a chance I will see you around town. In addition, as this is a year-long engagement, there is a chance that the pull back to Bellingham will be too strong and we may be back in the community next year.
Thank you all for making Explorations Academy such an amazing place to teach. I feel lucky to have worked here. I’ll be in touch and if you ever find yourself in the Cle Elum area, please get in touch, it would be great to see you.
Many of you know that I travelled a lot in my childhood. By the time I was 21 only 5 of those years were spent in the US. I love adventure and I love new challenges.
The past three years have been a rich experience for me while teaching at Explorations Academy. I love backpacking, like the awesome final expedition last year. I love travelling like I got to do in Vietnam with Bacchus. I love learning by doing and so working on the boat last term was a dream come true for me. I really enjoy building relationships with students and I will miss my advisees a lot next year as they connect with new advisors.
As wonderful as those opportunities have been, there are some other elements in teaching that I want to explore which aren’t available at EA. This Fall I will be teaching at another school in Whatcom county.
At this point of departure I want to say a huge thank you to Dan who led our first trips, like the amazing Washington State field trips. You are an amazing leader and I had so much fun with you! To Marley, I want to say thank you for your clear thinking and insightful conversation that made curriculum development interesting and worth doing. Thanks for demonstrating to me how to considerately speak your mind for the good of the community. To the middle school teachers: you did such an awesome job last year! Keep bringing it! Thank you to Jennifer who has taken the reins and is leading the school in a constructive direction with a solid plan. Lastly, but most importantly, thank you parents and students who make this school the amazing community that it is. This will be an exciting year of new opportunities for you. Make the most of your opportunities!
Please find the 2021-2022 downloadable school calendar here.