Special to The Swellesley Report, from David Wallace
The Explo at Wellesley summer program for teens will not return to Wellesley College in 2020, bringing down the curtain on three decades of summer campus activities. But the organization said it will continue to operate a Boston-area program at Wheaton College as it expands to other cities.
Norwood-based Exploration Schools announced the changes just a few days before its session began on June 24.
In a letter, president of Exploration Schools Moira Kelly outlined plans to expand to New York and Chicago but discontinue on-campus programs at Wellesley and Yale University. The organization offers creative activities for children and offers teacher training for graduate students and education professionals, some of whom continue as advisors, employees or program staff.
The email letter sent to parents explained the changes as part of an organization evolution. Explo began in 1976 and has grown to serve thousands of students on three different campuses, including Wheaton College.
Before you come to campus, I wanted to share some exciting news with your family. This will be EXPLO’s final summer on the campuses of Wellesley College and Yale University.
For the past several years, we have done some exploring of our own. We’ve been asking ourselves and others, “how does EXPLO need to change to continue to provide the most innovative, experienced-based learning and personal development possible?” As we started to imagine the possibilities, location came up again and again as an important element. To run the kind of world class programs we envision, we need access to world class cities. To that end, I am thrilled to announce that beginning in Summer 2020, EXPLO will expand our reach to Chicago and New York while maintaining a presence in the Boston area.
This summer, Explo tuition costs range from $3,000 per session for daily participants and more expensive for residential students, with scholarships offered. Wellesley has 400 residential students and about 100 daily participants at the college campus, according to Elliot Targum, who has led the Wellesley program for the past 12 years.
Courses range from computer coding and debate and a variety of sports, with music activities and trips during week-long sessions that encourage creativity and collaboration. The Wellesley program serves 13- and 14-year-old students and the Yale campus admits older teen students.
According to its 2017 IRS tax filings, Exploration Schools has a $7 million endowment, that has doubled from 2014 levels. For 2016, it took in more than $16 million in tuition/fee income and attracted students from around the globe to its residential on-campus programs.
Wellesley College shared the following statement with us about Explo’s move: “Wellesley College has enjoyed hosting and collaborating with EXPLO on our campus for over 30 summers. It has been a privilege to see so many youths developing their passions, exploring new academic fields and skills, and growing into future leaders. We wish EXPLO the best as they seek to expand their programming in new cities.”