Rebecca Mooers: SAEL has made all the difference |

Rebecca Mooers: SAEL has made all the difference


Choosing a high school is tough. As parents, we know that it’s a big decision for our kids — determining not only how they’ll spend the next four years but, also, who’ll they’ll be the rest of their lives.

Choosing a high school during the uncertainty of a pandemic is tougher still.

We’ve chosen Sierra Academy for Expeditionary Learning (SAEL) for three kids. And we’re glad we did. Two have graduated and gone off to college; the third is a junior this year.

SAEL is a tuition free, project-based, college preparatory public charter high school, located in the historic Nevada City Elementary building in downtown Nevada City. It has provided unique opportunities for each of our kids to thrive and grow in their own ways, rooted in the school’s sense of crew and SAEL’s commitment to connecting to every student.

At SAEL, students are not only part of the school or individual classes, they are part of a crew — a small group of kids that meets every day and stays together for four years, led by a faculty crew advisor.

That structure encourages relationship building, academic progress, and character development. It ensures that kids don’t get left behind and that they have opportunities to step into leadership roles. It’s also been a lot of fun; our kids have traveled with their crews to the beach, to visit colleges, and to camp in snow caves.

This year, in the era of distance learning, the kids haven’t been able to gather or go on expeditions. But their crews have been hard at work, maintaining meaningful connections. Making sure no one gets lost in the distance of distance learning.

For our family, SAEL’s sense of crew has made all the difference in the world.

Rebecca Mooers

Grass Valley

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