In the EL Education model, the tradition of Crew is both a culture and a structure. The term “crew” comes from educator Kurt Hahn, founder of Outward Bound. Hahn’s quote “We are crew, not passengers, strengthened by acts of consequential service to others” inspired the EL Education motto, “We are crew.” The culture of crew impels all members of a school community to work together as a team, to pitch in, to help others. Staff and students help their colleagues and peers get up the mountain together—individual success is not enough. The structure of Crew—daily meetings to support everyone’s learning and growth—makes time for students to build meaningful relationships with peers and their Crew leader, to reflect on and monitor academic progress, and to focus on character development. Crew is also an engine for equity and inclusion, a place where all students feel they belong and can succeed. Crew leaders strategically plan Crew meetings to address and assess these multiple goals.
Other school structures can also help build crew culture and ensure that every student is well known and supported by peers and adults (e.g., community meetings, mentoring, peer counseling, restorative justice work, apprenticeships). The culture of crew extends beyond the school walls to relationships with families and community members.