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Program Model

Teen study group


The Carvela Leadership School is designed to enhance our student's current academic achievements. Each student remains enrolled in their current academic program and participates remotely, as they would at home. 

Our educators will develop, in conjunction with parents and students, an individualized study program for each student. Students will have the freedom to develop their own style of coursework management and our educators will provide support through tutoring and mentoring. If desired, parents can receive a weekly progress report outlining the student’s development and achievements.  

The academic portion of the program will take place at a set time (usually in the morning) each day. Along with the students’ required course work, The Carvela School provides elective classes designed to enhance the student’s understanding of the world and their place within it. Elective courses could include: Understanding Inclusion and Diversity, Creative Writing, The Study of the Ecology of the Northwoods, etc. More information can be found on the daily schedule here

We're in the process of fainalizing our online learning partnership for the 23/24 school year - please reach out with any questions. You can find out more here.


Electives at The Carvela Leadership School allow students to explore topics of interest with the support of our programming staff, mentors, and other students.


 Our flexible schedule, and the willingness to wonder, allows students the ability to dive deep into the topics or activities with the hope of developing a passion for something new.

Elective subjects can vary as widely as the interests of our students and staff. Through our “project development” curriculum, students have the ability to explore topics in a supportive environment where their curiosity can take over and they can “learn by doing.”

Student Independent Projects (SIP)

Each student will work with their mentor to design a Student Independent Project that is right for them. The purpose of this project is to learn new skills, develop a passion or at least an appreciation for the new skill, and create something of meaning. It is the intent of the SIP for it to last the duration of the semester, but we want to encourage the evolution of the process. The end result of a student’s SIP may look very different from the initial proposal and that’s ok. 


The scope of the project is determined by the student. It is our responsibility to support each project by supplying or finding resources and providing a safe space for exploration and learning. The student’s peers will also be there to help support each other and work as a community to develop, build and complete each project. 



CLS offers an intentional, supportive community to help students explore their identity and their relationship to others and their world. The program prioritizes student agency, meaning that the participants co-design and co-lead most of their experience.  No two semesters are ever alike! ​


Our program model promotes connection to the natural world, each other, and ourselves. While the specifics of each semester vary, students can expect to weave leadership skills into their everyday activities, including backcountry skill-building, games, intentional conversation, consensus decision-making, and camaraderie.  Students will leave with a broader perspective on community, and a stronger sense of self.


Beyond the classroom has a general fluidity to the days where they tend to vary as widely as the creativity and imagination of students and staff. 

The time spent outside of the classroom is used for building a supportive and inclusive community where passions can be developed, the creative process can be explored while forming life-long friendships.

Through our “Project Development” curriculum our educators help our students explore their interests and provide a platform for creating passions through doing. Experiential learning is at the heart of our program.  Our curriculum is structured to provide each student the resources to dive into their interests in a non-competitive, supportive environment. The goal of this is to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and expand their capacity to contribute to their communities.

Weekends are a time for exploring, personal growth, development, and restful reflection. Each weekend’s program varies from overnight biking, backpacking, or canoeing trips, to group collaboration experiences or individual project development. Through consensus decision-making, the students have control over their own experiences. These real-life decisions help students build a supportive community and impart leadership and teamwork skills along with instilling a new level of self-confidence.

You can find a lot more information on the life of a student here.

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