How do you encourage that kind of curiosity and passion in kids, and the persistence to follow where it leads? Elm City wants to find out. It’s one of three “Greenfield” schools in the Achievement First charter network, so called to conjure an image of an open field where anything imaginable can be built: a school of limitless possibilities. (The other two schools are in Brooklyn, New York, and Providence, Rhode Island.)

The Greenfield model uses some rather commonplace strategies, such as integrating online learning, small-group instruction and greater parental and community involvement.

Where the model pushes boundaries is in the addition of learning experiences called “expeditions.” These are not field trips. They are two-week intensive courses that take children outside the classroom and beyond the traditional subjects. Expeditions aim to build a  habit of pursuing expertise or passion, or both.

The Greenfield model was conceived in the fall of 2014, when a team of school designers led by Samouha traveled the country visiting charter schools and borrowing their best ideas. Samouha aimed to transform the picture of education from one of  kids dutifully doing assigned work to one of kids “who are just on fire about their own learning path.”

What students need, some education experts say, is a powerful incentive to keep going. During the Elm City expeditions, such persistence was evident. Children encountered problems and were driven to find solutions.

Read the full article about kids' passion for learning by Brenda Iasevoli at The Hechinger Report.