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EXPLO is more than a summer program — it’s a community of friends and mentors that lasts a lifetime.

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Student LifeLiving at Sarah Lawrence

Our residential summer program is designed to help high schoolers practice making choices that are meaningful to them — from the subjects they explore to the trips they take on the weekends to what they eat for dinner — and build the confidence to navigate high school and beyond. Read on to learn more about schedules, routines, and interactions that organize our summer at EXPLO.

Residential Students

Students are part of a small living group led by two Residential Advisors who check on them throughout the day and keep them informed of what’s going on around campus. We aim to create living groups that balance a mix of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, along with both new and returning EXPLO students. Rising 8th graders are housed together and students entering grades 9 and 10 share floors.

Typically, there are two or three students to a room at EXPLO. But with COVID-19 protection at the forefront, we’ve decided to house each student in a single room this summer. We’re also ensuring proper physical distancing by reducing the number of students and educators on campus by lowering enrollment, limiting coming and going from campus, and utilizing our ample outdoor spaces.

If families have additional needs, concerns, or preferences regarding housing, they should be in contact with Head of Programs Elliot Targum before June 1.

Our staff’s main priority has always been one thing, and one thing only: our students. Staff members, faculty, and administrators are there to help instruct and guide students through their summer experience. Our job is to (gently) nudge them beyond their comfort zone, making sure they get to experience everything an EXPLO summer has to offer — all while feeling as safe and secure as possible. And since we’re as excited to be at EXPLO as they are, we’ll make sure every experience is as fun and fulfilling as can be.

Leaving home for the first time can feel uncomfortable and even intimidating — even in the most welcoming communities. Our staff works hard with each student to make sure they feel safe, secure, and most of all, at home. For most students, it only takes a few days to adjust. By then, most students are settling into their living groups and new routines, beginning to develop stronger connections with their peers and trust with the staff, and realizing that they can successfully navigate a new (and exciting) experience without always needing the support of their parents/guardians. For more information, please visit our Safety and Security page.

In order to allow students to develop their support system on campus, we do not allow students to call home during the first week of the program. We know that you’re excited to hear from them — and trust us, they’re excited to share their experiences with you as well — but through the years, we’ve found that calling home during the first week makes the transition away from home to a new community much more difficult. For this reason, calls home begin on the second Monday of the program.

We encourage families to check in with their students throughout the session. Sending messages through the Student Portal, which we print out and deliver to them daily, is a great way to keep in touch. Good old-fashioned snail mail is great, too!


International Students

Far from home, but never alone

EXPLO is a diverse community — we have students from more than 40 states and 70 countries! — and our international students make up a critical part of our learning community and living groups. We also recognize that many of our students are very far from home, and they may have questions unique to attending a summer program in the United States. Head over to our International Students page for more information about traveling to campus, language requirements, and more.

International Students

Campus InformationSarah Lawrence College, New York

Tucked alongside the tree-lined village of Bronxville, N.Y., Sarah Lawrence College is a 44-acre wooded campus in Westchester County. With air-conditioned classrooms and meeting spaces, two outdoor gathering venues, modern dorms and dining facilities, a student gym and swimming pool, and more, it’s the perfect home for our students to explore the world of people and ideas, together. To boot, a short walk from campus, Bronxville Center (or as we call it, The Ville) is home to a number of shops, cafés, and restaurants.

Campus highlights:

  • The Lawn is our hub throughout the day where our community gathers for meetings and activities, a quick frisbee toss, or a chance to relax with friends while the campus DJ spins hits
  • Art studios and performance spaces, including an outdoor amphitheater
  • The brand-new Barbara Walters Student Center

Faculty + StaffOur People

Our faculty love to teach — but more than that, they love to learn

At EXPLO, exceptional teaching — and taking excellent care of kids — is at the heart of what we do. This is why our faculty bring that passion (along with months of rigorous planning and training) to EXPLO. Time and again, the EXPLO faculty and staff have been described as setting the “gold standard” for summer programs. Our talented faculty are required to complete a robust teacher development program at the start of every summer. Our results are so exceptional that schools across the world, nonprofits, and even leading corporations have asked us to develop curriculum and to train their professionals to be more engaging and creative teachers.

In addition, we intentionally hire a staff of an adjacent generation to work with our students because they, too, are deeply engaged with learning and swimming in the same cultural forces. They can quickly break down barriers, and make authentic and relatable connections between the ideas and the world our students are navigating. They are the perfect role models to inspire and energize EXPLO students.

Meet Our Head of Programs

Elliot Targum began working for EXPLO in 1997. Prior to becoming the Head of Programs, Elliot lent his talents to a number of roles including Residence Director, Programming Director, and Dean of Day Students. Elliot was a founding teacher at a Boston charter school and taught math and science in the Cambridge, Mass., public school system. Elliot is known as an “idea factory,” and one public school teaching colleague described him as “the most progressive teacher in the district.” When he’s not matching wits with high schoolers at EXPLO, Elliot loves to explore the world (especially Disney World) with his two children, wife, and canine companion, Trixie. Elliot is a graduate of Haverford College and earned his M.Ed. at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he concentrated in technology and education.

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