The Island School
The Island School is a transformative semester or summer journey based on the island of Eleuthera in The Bahamas. Students and teachers at The Island School engage in a process of inquiry in order to discover sustainable solutions to real world problems.
In contrast to other programs, only place-based coursework is offered at The Island School. Using Eleuthera’s cultural and environmental landscape, students explore their classes outside of the traditional classroom setting through student-centered academics and outdoor programs that support personal growth and leadership development. During a semester, students will take courses in ecology, applied scientific research, mathematics, art, literature, and histories. In addition, students will participate in outreach programs that practice a project-based approach to local collaboration.
At The Island School, students have the opportunity to work with researchers at a world-class research facility, the Cape Eleuthera Institute. Through the applied scientific research course, students investigate the surrounding marine or terrestrial environment with the goal of answering pertinent ecological questions. At the end of the semester, students will present their research to local government officials and policy makers and also complete and publish a scientific research poster.
Rounding out the semester are the physical and outdoor education programs. Not only do students spend five mornings a week training for a half-marathon or four mile open-ocean swim, but they also participate in two sea kayaking trips and earn a PADI Open Water Diver Certification.
In all of these ways, The Island School pushes students outside of their comfort zone. By facing real substantial challenges in the classroom, on a morning run, or when presenting their scientific research to Bahamian policymakers, students confront their limitations together and develop a deep sense of personal accomplishment and community support.
At The Island School, we believe that young people, given the right tools, can accomplish anything. The Island School experience culminates in the beginning of a lifelong educational journey, where self-confident students emerge as engaged global citizens, empowered to be active leaders of their generation.
A message from Chris Maxey, Co-Founder & Director:
“I encourage you to take up the challenge, step off the track and push yourself harder than you ever have in your life. Explore new questions, study deep ocean sharks, help turn waste into energy and food, build new friendships that will last the rest of your life, plunge under the ocean at night, run and swim and feel stronger, live every day seizing every minute, become a leader, hungry to make the world a better place”
“Island School is finding your sense of place and returning home to make a difference” – Kate Parks Schaefer (F’03)
“A truly remarkable experience that still helps guide me through life today” – Joe Sukup (S’09)
“The Island School teaches you to make experiences happen around you. Reach out to people and make connections. Ask questions, go out on an adventure, and do things that are unknown” – Abby Gordon (S’14)
“A place promoting positive change in students, who in turn positively change our world” – Noelle Cooper (F’04)
“The Island School is where the improbable becomes possible and the extraordinary becomes extraordinary” – Robbie Balloch (S’12)
“Island School remains as the singular defining adventure of my life, it has made me, me” – Griffin Hunt (F’11)
Student Teacher Ratio
Focus / Specialty
Sustainability, Marine Conservation
Eleuthera, The Bahamas