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.

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

Our Accrediting Bodies

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

  • AdvancED
    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.

This commitment to education is evident in every facet of our business—course leaders are specially trained in the LEAP philosophy, and make learning moments come to life throughout all our programs. Students are empowered with Discovery Journals prior to their trip—these journals are great tools for students to use before, during, and after their travels to help cement the learning. Teachers receive countless opportunities to enhance their in-the-classroom teaching through educational webinars and other teaching tools.

Most importantly, our commitment to education makes it possible for us to offer our 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 Perspectives programs three free college preparatory credits.

LEAP: Learning through Exploring and Actively Participating

WorldStrides 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.

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 Directors 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.

Students learn best when they are engaged and challenged, and, in any group, a wide variety of learning styles and social skills will be represented, each deserving an opportunity to shine. LEAP was designed specifically to replace the old-fashioned lecturing style of traditional tour guides, with a dynamic, inclusive, and constructivist approach…and is just one of the many things that sets WorldStrides apart from other travel provider.