To ignite a passion for learning that inspires participants to collaborate effectively and take responsibility for positive global change.
We value experiential learning, healthy individuals and communities, and environmental awareness. Since our founding, we have incorporated environmental education, field study, and ecological literacy into our core academics and summer programs. This helps students build an ethic of environmental stewardship and volunteerism into their life as a direct result of first-hand experiences where nature is the classroom. Community responsibility is also central to our mission, and students engage in service learning work with a variety of environmental, social justice, and other organizations.
Our school was founded on three pillars of thought that a REAL education (Relevant, Engaged, Applied Learning) is personal, social, and global. These pillars shape our Student Outcomes and are reinforced in every aspect of our program whether academic or meta-curricular.
Personal: Find real purpose in school through timely, relevant curriculum and experiences
Social: Build genuine connections with others through positive relationships and self-discovery
Global: Make education global with service, travel, and community involvement built into school
Global Community Institute (GCI) is a nonprofit educational organization formed in Bellingham in 1988. Explorations Academy is a core program of the Global Community Institute.
The founders of GCI were motivated by two needs: the need for effective strategies that fully engage and provide meaning for learners and the need for educational organizations that address issues of social justice and ecological balance.
From 1988 through 1991, the founders worked to define the vision of the organization, designing programs, drafting a mission statement and writing articles of incorporation. In 1991 GCI became incorporated and began running its first programs. These were chiefly summer field courses for youth, emphasizing interpersonal skills and environmental education, as well as professional development seminars for educators.
In 1993, GCI became a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization, which allowed us to invest our full energy into the creation of a top-quality, experientially oriented school. The school, then called Explorations High School, began operating in the spring of 1995 as a pilot program and moved into full operation in the fall of 1995. In 1998 we gained full accreditation as a secondary school and have been linking experiential education with academic challenge ever since. In 2018, we expanded our offerings to include a middle school program.