Attending an academic enrichment program helps students prepare for the greater independence of middle school and high school. That being said, EXPLO does not believe that our students should be supervised as if they are already completely independent; we work hard to ensure each of our student age-groups is receiving a developmentally-appropriate and safe level of supervision and guidance throughout their days. In order to create the atmosphere that allows learning to be both fun and meaningful, we know that our students (and their loved ones back home) need to feel that our campus is safe, that our staff is observant and trained to respond to our students’ needs.
Bullying has no place on an EXPLO campus. We have dismissed students who did not live up to our ideals of respect and care, but more importantly, we have always worked hard to create the kind of communities where bullying would make no sense — whether on floors, in classrooms, on playing fields, or on the campus at large.
Our students’ physical and emotional health is a priority. On the Wheaton campus, we have a health center staffed 24/7 with experienced, registered nurses who are there exclusively for EXPLO students. All prescription and over-the-counter medications are distributed through the health center, because state law — and common sense — dictates that students should not self-medicate or keep medications in their rooms.
Should the need arise, EXPLO has a consulting psychologist on-call 24/7, and we have access to a local teaching hospital as well as a close relationship with a well-regarded pediatrics practice located ten minutes from campus. Any time that a student has to go to an outside health professional, he or she is always accompanied by a member of our staff.
We believe you cannot supervise students well if you do not supervise the staff well. That is why we have an intensive staff training program. In addition, we support staff members via an extensive supervisory structure to give them professional development feedback and to hold them accountable. We are regularly told by former staff members that the professional development and supervision they received at EXPLO was the best of their professional lives.
While it may be time consuming and expensive to hire and train this level of staffing — and while none of this completely guarantees the safety of all students — it puts all of us in the best position to keep our students safe and confident that they can let their minds and hearts soar and explore.
We deliberately keep our staff-to-student ratios quite low. At EXPLO Boston, it’s 1-to-4. This allows us to properly supervise residence halls, trips, and activities. We do this to make sure our students are known, and more importantly, feel known.
According to leading research in the field, nothing is more essential to thriving in an educational setting.