George Lucas Educational Foundation

Schools That Work| Case Study

Two Rivers Public Charter School

Grades pre-K to 8 | Washington, DC

Creating Problem Solvers for the Real World

Two Rivers Public Charter School fosters critical thinkers through arts integration, a protocol for critique, and problem-based learning.
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What This School Is Achieving

A close up of four young girls sitting on a classroom carpet looking at a piece of paper together. They make part of a larger circle of elementary students sitting on the floor.

Second-grade students made an acrylic painting depicting the four forces of flight—thrust, lift, gravity, and drag. Their painting is displayed at Reagan National Airport to teach people how airplanes stay in the sky. Eighth-grade students explored the ethics around gene editing and presented policy briefs to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Two Rivers Public Charter School in Washington, DC—part of the Expeditionary Learning Education network—enables its students to solve real-world problems.

  • Outperformed the state on PARCC assessment for both math and ELA in 2015.
  • Rated Tier 1 (High Performing) by the DC Public Charter School Board every year since 2012.
  • Achieved 94% attendance rate during the 2015-2016 school year.
A close up of four young girls sitting on a classroom carpet looking at a piece of paper together. They make part of a larger circle of elementary students sitting on the floor.

How They Do It

Arts Integration: Deepening Understanding of Core Content

Using the Arts to Synthesize Student Understanding

Arts integration is more than an afterthought. You can use the arts to both meet your arts standards and deepen academic learning.

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Solving Real-World Problems: Bringing Authentic Context to Learning

Solving Real-World Issues Through Problem-Based Learning

The perfect problem connects content, student interest, and an authentic context.

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Peer Critique: Creating a Culture of Revision

Critique Protocol: Helping Students Produce High-Quality Work

Your students can improve their work by recognizing the strengths and weaknesses in the work of others.

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Analyzing Student Work: Using Peer Feedback to Improve Instruction

Analyze Student Work to Inform Instruction

Tailor your instruction by incorporating your peers’ feedback about student work.

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Voices From the School

The Power of Vulnerability in Professional Development

Carolina Riveros-Ruenes
6th Grade English Language Arts Teacher

3 Ways Lesson Plans Flop—and How to Recover

Anne Gillyard
First-Grade Teacher at Two Rivers Public Charter School

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