Teach Learn Experientially
P.O. Box 7114
Lee's Summit MO 64064
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 600-6826
Mission Statement
The mission of TLE is to stimulate a passion for learning by delivering relevant and engaging experiences that last a lifetime.  As a part of this mission, TLE works with under-served and low-income populations so no child is denied these educational opportunities.  Each academic school year we are hoping to maintain and grow our past enrolement of 12,000 students and 300 teachers from over 200 schools participating in our school-based programs in Kansas City.
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Terri Swartz-Shelton
Board Chair Mike McCormick
Board Chair Company Affiliation Attorney and Consultant
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2011
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

 Breakdown
Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Statements
Mission Statement The mission of TLE is to stimulate a passion for learning by delivering relevant and engaging experiences that last a lifetime.  As a part of this mission, TLE works with under-served and low-income populations so no child is denied these educational opportunities.  Each academic school year we are hoping to maintain and grow our past enrolement of 12,000 students and 300 teachers from over 200 schools participating in our school-based programs in Kansas City.
Background Statement
Teach & Learn Experientially (TLE) was formed in July 2011 to facilitate the administration of Exchange City and EarthWorks. Our guiding educational philosophy is that individuals learn best through an immersive role-playing activity called experiential learning. Our innovative experiential learning model ensures that learning experiences are memorable, highly personal and interactive. These engaging and exciting experiences unfold over time and make connections with prior and future learning.
 
 
The innovative programming of Exchange City and EarthWorks include curricula that prepare students in the classroom for an experience where they can put their learning into action for a deeper level of engagement and learning. From their conception, Exchange City and EarthWorks continue to impact, inspire, and touch the lives of students on a daily basis. TLE is dedicated to the continued success of these two important programs.
Impact Statement
Accomplishments in 2014
  • Increased enrollment to 14,000 students in 2014-2015 school year
  • Expanded Exchange City and EarthWorks programming to include Afterschool and Summer Enrichment Programs
  • Created and began implementation of a three-year strategic plan
Goals for 2015
  • Increase enrollment to 15,000 students for the 2015-2016 school year
  • Secure a sponsorship for every business in Exchange City
  • Advance partnership with Tri-Star to begin development of an aerodynamics experiential program
Needs Statement
1. Funding for operation of programs
2. Sponsorships for Exchange City businesses
3. Sponsorships for EarthWorks habitats
4. In-kind donations of laptops, color printers, and office supplies
5. Donations for animal care
Service Categories
Educational Services
Areas of Service
MO
KS
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement I began my career as an educator over thirty years ago, and I taught the Exchange City program when it was first created in 1980. The experiential learning model used is phenomenal, and I brought it into my classroom at every opportunity. In 2006, I had the opportunity to come work for the Learning Exchange (LX) who was managing the Exchange City and EarthWorks programs, and I jumped at the chance. Shortly after I began working for LX, the economy took a hard hit and educational funding was substantially decreased. The organization struggled. It became my mission to keep these local educational jewels alive in Kansas City. In 2011, TLE was founded and I became President/CEO of the organization. The economy is turning around, but educational funding is still behind. I believe in experiential learning. I believe in these programs, and I am dedicated to making them stronger and keeping them around for decades to come.
Programs
Description
Exchange City is the largest hands-on educational program for fourth through eighth grade students. Over 800,000 students have participated in this one of a kind experience, since it was created in 1980. We offer a reenactment of a life-sized city that students "run" during their memorable experience with the Exchange City program. Students are assigned jobs and civic roles that they must carry out in order for their city to work.
 
While there are no traditional "lessons" taught, our experience is to built to correlate with the Kansas and Missouri State core competencies and instructional strategies throughout our curricula.
 
Exchange City teaches middle school students about opportunities and responsibilities in the American free enterprise system. It is a mock city made up of fourteen businesses and organizations. Each student is assigned a job in the city where they have to work with fellow team members to problem solve and come together to run a thriving Exchange City metropolis.
Category Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years), ,
Short-Term Success
Exchange City provides a challenging academic experience aligned to the Missouri and Kansas State Standards and uses research-based instructional strategies throughout the program curriculum.
 
 
Exchange City provides an immersive real-world experience that fosters active learning through an integrated Math/Communication Arts curriculum.
 
 
Exchange City provides learning opportunities for students to make effective decisions as consumers, producers, savers, investors, and citizens.
 
 
Exchange City provides an opportunity for students to collaborate and problem solve in an authentic business environment.
Long-Term Success
At Exchange City, students are engaged in an experiential learning initiative. Experiences at Exchange City don’t only help students in their current coursework, but lessons learned from their experience last a lifetime. Students learn many skills over the course of a day at Exchange City:
 
 
• Entrepreneurship
• Teamwork and partnership
• Business networking
• Personal finance
• Responsibility
• Creative advertising
• Time management
• Supply and demand (scarcity)
 
Throughout the day, students learn to make effective decisions as consumers, producers, savers, investors, and citizens. These lessons help students become better students and citizens. 
 
Throughout the day, students learn to make effective decisions as consumers, producers, savers, investors, and citizens. These lessons help students become better students and citizens.
Program Success Monitored By Measurement of Exchange City’s success is evident in the growing enrollment of the program. We have a 90% retention rate of schools. Not only do satisfied teachers return with their students year after year, but they also promote our programs to their colleagues.
Examples of Program Success
As the TLE mission states, we provide experiences that last a lifetime. Decades after their trip to Exchange City, students remember it as their greatest field trip and remember the lessons learned.
 
 
“It was a very fun experience, and the pre-work we did in the classroom was the most relevant real-life training I had received up to that point…I remember learning how to write checks and balance your accounts. I also remember that we had an election for our city mayor and judges. I wrote a speech and it was my first experience speaking in front of the class.” (Jill Harmon, Foundation Director, Kansas City, MO. Exchange City Alumni 1989.)
 
 
“I remember learning relationships had a significant role in real world business interactions. Regardless of your job, if there were difficulties in the interactions between the people that you were dealing with then the business transaction was difficult.” (Andrew Edgerton, Management Consultant, Washington D.C. Exchange City Alumni 1986)
Description
EarthWorks is a hands-on, minds-on program opened in 1996 that takes math and science education to a higher level. Before the EarthWorks event, students engage in a six week classroom preparation designed to develop the skills practiced by scientists, such as drawing hypotheses, observation, data collection, and collaboration. Next is the daylong visit from EarthWorks, where students put their newly learned skills to real-life use.
 
EarthWorks is a virtual laboratory, simulated at your location, that comes to life. Students pre K through fifth grade will discover their love of nature and environment as they experience each of our five native habitats: Prairie, Soil, Pond, Forrest and Cave. With experiments, interactive food chains, agricultural project and visually stimulating natural disasters, students will get the hands-on experience needed to determine what a healthy and productive ecosystem entails and the importance of sustainability within our environment. 
Category Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years), ,
Short-Term Success
EarthWorks provides a challenging academic experience aligned with the Missouri and Kansas State Standards and uses research based instructional strategies throughout the curriculum.
 
 
EarthWorks provides a real-world immersive experience that fosters active learning through an integrated Science/Communication Arts curriculum.
 
 
EarthWorks provides learning opportunities for students to make effective decisions in a complex, natural environment.
 
 
EarthWorks provides an opportunity for students to collaborate and problem-solve in recreated field laboratories.
Long-Term Success
Students … and especially budding scientists … love EarthWorks! It’s designed to fit hand-in-hand with the curriculum taught to 3rd through 5th graders and enhance understanding of the world and our ecosystem. Students experience several benefits and hone many skills when they study the EarthWorks curriculum and experience a life-sized laboratory:
 
 
• Collaboration and teamwork
• Decision making
• Problem solving
• Hypothesizing
• Making observations
• Collecting data
• Drawing conclusions
• Understanding of Midwestern habitats
• Hands-on learning with real life animals
• Lessons in recycling and conservation
 
 
These lessons make better students and citizens as they learn to appreciate our Earth.
Program Success Monitored By Measurement of EarthWorks’ success is evident in the growing enrollment of the program. We have an 85% retention rate of schools enrolled. Not only do satisfied teachers return with their students year after year, but they also promote our programs to their colleagues.
Examples of Program Success
As the TLE mission states, we provide experiences that last a lifetime. Decades after their trip to EarthWorks, students remember it as their greatest field trip and remember the lessons learned. In fact, TLE’s has had the pleasure of employing, Kristen Bredemeier, an EarthWorks graduate. She has recently taken a job at our Kansas City Zoo but her presence is seen in her work and kind words, “Visiting EarthWorks with my third-grade class opened my eyes to nature, and I loved being immersed in the different habitats,” Bredemeier said. “I remember it all so vividly and thinking it was so cool. And you know what, it’s just as much fun now as an adult working there.”
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Terri Swartz-Shelton
Term Start June 2011
Experience
Terri Swartz-Shelton is a former educator with a BA in Education K-8 with Lifetime Certifications in Developmental Reading and Instruction, Middle School Teaching and Instruction and Alternative and Adaptive Education.
 
 
After retiring from teaching, Terri joined the staff of the Learning Exchange as the Development Director. Terri continued working for Exchange City and EarthWorks through the many transitions from the transfer of ownership from the Learning Exchange to the Cody Foundation in New Hampshire. Ultimately, Terri helped found Teach & Learn Experientially and brought the Exchange City & EarthWorks ownership back to Kansas City. She is dedicated to keeping Exchange City and EarthWorks strong and relevant for generations to come.
Co-CEO/Executive Director
Term Start
Compensation Last Year
Senior Staff
Title Chief Operations Officer
Title Director of Programs and Communication
Title Director of Educational Outreach
Staff
Paid Full-Time Staff 3
Paid Part-Time Staff 0
Volunteers 2000
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Tri-Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non-Management Formal Evaluation No
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Under Development
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? Yes
Board Chair
Board Chair Mike McCormick
Company Affiliation Attorney and Consultant
Term June 2011 to Jan 2020
Board Members
NameAffiliation
Mr. Chip Chesnut Burns & McDonnell
Mr. Mike McCormick Attorney-at-Law
Ms. Brenda Sartain Kansas City Missouri Public Schools
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 3
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 2
Female 1
Unspecified 0
Governance
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 100%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Financials
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2015
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2016
Projected Revenue $275,000
Projected Expenses $147,606
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FYE 6/30/2015, 2014, 2013: Financial data reported using IRS Form 990. 
  • Foundation/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.  
Detailed Financials
 
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$243,419$341,663$359,700
Administration Expense$115,528$0$0
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates--$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.971.300.95
Program Expense/Total Expenses68%100%100%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$52,841$171,819$92,950
Current Assets$52,841$171,819$89,743
Long-Term Liabilities$201,898$80,871$0
Current Liabilities$15,028$48,790$96,068
Total Net Assets($164,085)$42,158($3,118)
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities3.523.520.93
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets382%47%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount --M.R. & Evelyn Hudson Foundation $75,000M.R. & Evelyn Hudson Foundation $120,000
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Hall Family Foundation $50,000Bank of America/John & Effie Speas Memorial Foundation $25,000
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation $50,000EFECT $18,004
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Organization Name Teach Learn Experientially
Address P.O. Box 7114
Lee's Summit, MO 64064
Primary Phone (816) 600-6826
CEO/Executive Director Terri Swartz-Shelton
Board Chair Mike McCormick
Board Chair Company Affiliation Attorney and Consultant
Year of Incorporation 2011