Experience is the world’s best teacher. That’s the core of our philosophy, but we don’t leave the education up to experience alone. We elevate the learning with an approach that’s earned us national accreditation and helped to ignite growth for millions of students over more than 50 years.

Wendy Amato, Ph.D.

Our Educational Mission

Educators are becoming increasingly mindful of the role that hands-on learning and experiential opportunities play in knowledge acquisition. We see this philosophical shift in the way schools, administrators, teachers, and families look to interdisciplinary options, project-based learning, international exposure, and other endeavors beyond classroom walls to complete the educational experience.

We are humbled to be part of that important work with an interactive learning philosophy we use on our educational tours call LEAP, as well as online coursework for students and professional development for educators. We are proud to participate in the processes of educational accreditation in the U.S. and Canada just like a school, which allows our in-house educators a unique chance to share our philosophy, teaching techniques, and content with like-minded accreditors. And we are proud to partner with educators to create the curriculum for our individual programs, as well as support the learning outcomes of our study abroad experiences.

Today’s students engage in a world of advancing complexity. Our mission and vision support these students in preparing for that challenge. We seek to stimulate thinking, challenge complacency, inspire creativity, and nurture stewardship.

Wendy W. Amato, Ph.D., Chief Academic Officer

Accredited, like your school

In 1996, WorldStrides became the first student travel company to be accredited by the same regional and national accrediting bodies (see below) as your school. That means we’re held to the same strict academic standards as schools all across the country.

  • Cognia
    The parent organization for the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement, and the Northwest Accreditation Commission.
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
    A world-renowned independent accrediting association working with schools primarily in the western United States, including the California Department of Education.
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
    One of six accrediting bodies in the country, working primarily in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Washington D.C.
LEAP: Learning through Exploring and Actively Participating

WorldStrides’ trademarked approach to learning sets us apart! We believe that it’s not just about seeing amazing destinations, but instead getting students and teachers interacting with the people, the culture, and the actual places these incredible locations have to offer.  We call this interactive focus LEAP—Learning through Exploring and Actively Participating – and we practice it on our K-12 educational tours.

The academic basis for LEAP is based on Howard Gardener’s theory of multiple intelligences, the philosophy of constructivism, and the synthesis of the transmission, transaction, and transformational approaches to learning.

LEAP is designed so your students:

  • Are engaged and active learners.
  • Are challenged to think critically.
  • Grow personally and intellectually.

LEAP is the entire relationship between each student, the places they encounter, and their tour leader acting as a cultural mediator, not just a series of activities.  Course Leaders and Tour Directors have developed their exceptional leadership and educational skills as a result of extensive LEAP training, which includes cultivating an understanding of how all students – and all people – learn.

Read more here.

Learning Tools and Courses

To facilitate the best learning, we provide teachers with a variety of optional tools, tuned to the age of the learner and the subject matter. Some examples include:

  • Discovery Journals – Great tools for students on educational travel programs to use before, during, and after their travels to help cement the learning! These extensive workbooks cover a wide range of destination and subject-specific material.
  • Academic Briefing – For study abroad programs in Higher Ed, these customized documents help the students learn about the organizations with whom they will meet.
  • What’s New – Watch our Educators page for opportunities to enhance teaching and learning through educational webinars and other teaching tools, especially for our family of educators.

Most importantly, our commitment to education makes it possible for us to offer our exclusive Discovery for Credit program. Through this WorldStrides exclusive, we can offer high school academic credit to students and continuing education credit to teachers. And through our partnership with the University of California – San Diego Extension, we are able to offer high school students traveling on our international tours three free college preparatory credits.

Have questions? We have answers.

    How can educators earn discounted graduate credit?

    Teachers leading middle and high school programs may enroll in our 3-credit graduate course, "Instruction and Management for Increased Learning." This course is designed to serve teachers across all content areas and is run on a semester schedule. The course is taught by Wendy Amato. For information and to register, contact discovery@worldstrides.org.

    How can educators earn professional development (CEUs/PDPs)?

    One of the many benefits of choosing WorldStrides is that educators can earn free professional development points. Both the educator leading the trip and the educator chaperones are eligible to receive this credit. Details and number of points vary by program, so please contact your Account Manager for full details.

    Who develops and grades coursework when students get credit through WorldStrides?

    The Curriculum & Academics team is comprised of highly credentialed educators with years of classroom and field teaching experience. Our Chief Academic Officer, Wendy Amato, holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Virginia. All courses are designed to meet the specific developmental and educational needs of the learners on the travel programs. Coursework is evaluated by the WorldStrides team with personalized feedback, differentiated assignments, a range of product options, and a mastery learning approach to assessment. Click here to view full details on the WorldStrides Discovery for Credit Program.

    What is the educator’s responsibility for credit offered?

    WorldStrides' Curriculum & Academics team is fully credentialed and responsible for all aspects of the online coursework of Discovery for Credit. Program Leaders are not required to grade, write curriculum, or collect assignments related to credit issued by WorldStrides. Program Leaders are encouraged to introduce the opportunity to earn credit as a valuable element of the program they are leading.

    How much does college preparatory credit cost?

    The opportunity to earn three free college preparatory credits is included for many of our international travel programs. Other programs may offer credit options for a small fee. Check with your WorldStrides representative if you aren’t sure what type of program you are doing.

    How much does high school credit cost?

    Discovery for Credit is free—meaning students who successfully complete online coursework following their travel program will receive free high school credit. The exact amount of credit received depends on the travel program and specific coursework selected.  Click here to view full details on WorldStrides’ Discovery for Credit Program.