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With small class size and close communications with parents, Gardner is able to provide a highly personalized learning environment that allows emerging and young adolescents time to find their own voices. Here they become secure, confident and competent learners who manage their own learning, think critically and with curiosity, take pride in the quality of their work, effectively participate in collaborative learning, and contribute to the classroom, the school, and the broader community.



Thematic studies are the very heart of the hands-on, project-based learning in Klickitat and Tahoma. Each term students tackle a specific topic for deep, interdisciplinary study. Topics fall generally into the disciplines of Science or Social Studies; however, students examine each topic through a variety of different lenses including, math, writing, and the arts.


Learning activities and overall curriculum are planned with the multiple intelligences in mind. The objective is to make every lesson rich with texture and accessible to different kinds of minds. Students are increasingly self-aware and analytical, and using the vocabulary of multiple intelligences gives these young minds an additional tool to think about themselves and the world around them.


Students are assessed in a number of different ways. Some assessments are purely quantitative, while other assessments are designed to measure the deep understandings that students gain in their studies. Students use a variety of rubrics, checklists, and self-reflective writing to both measure academic progress and nurture their own awareness of personal growth. The teacher writes a detailed narrative report at the conclusion of the fall and spring terms, which documents the student’s development in all academic and social learning for the term. This narrative is accompanied by a checklist for each academic discipline and a self-reflection written by the student.


Field Trips are an essential and core component of learning at Gardner. Students go on many field trips over the course of the year. Field trips are often tied to work in Thematics, science, art, or literature. Students have traveled to the North Cascades Mountain School, the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon, to Alabama as part of their Civil Rights Study , and to the Teton Science School in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The Gardner School of Arts & Sciences

Teaching Deeply, Learning Fully, Cultivating Responsibility—One Mind at a Time.

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