The Pathfinder School: Traverse City Community School

Mission and Philosophy

Honoring wonder, fostering friendships, building understanding!

Mission Statement:

The Pathfinder School mission is to ensure each student builds a foundation of intellectual facility and self-assurance through immersion in vigorous learning environments that require creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, initiative, and responsibility.

Our Values:

  • Respect for multiple intelligences and learning styles.
  • Constructivism and experiential learning.
  • Attention to social-emotional wellness and character development.
  • High expectations for academic effort and generativity.
  • Enthusiasm for teaching and learning.
  • Students being well-known by their teachers.
  • A broad and adaptive curriculum.
  • Integration of the arts.
  • Utilization of the outdoors.
  • Environmental stewardship.
  • Favoring cooperation over competition.
  • A shared spirit of community among students, parents, and teachers.
  • Independence in curriculum, governance, and finance.

Value proposition:

Families choose The Pathfinder School to assure their student has a happy, enriching, supportive, and purposeful educational experience. They want their child to be set on a path of enthusiasm for learning and confidence in their ability to contribute to their community.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon graduation, all students will know:

  • How to construct understanding.
  • How understanding helps navigate the future.
  • How all things are connected.
  • How to overcome obstacles.
  • How to contribute.
  • How to communicate ideas.
  • How to learn throughout life.


In designing instruction, all faculty will understand:

  • What is important for students to know.
  • How to help students construct understanding.
  • How to nurture creativity and critical thinking.
  • How to connect ideas across disciplines.
  • How to help students persevere in problem solving.
  • How to invite the contributions of all students.
  • How to assess student growth towards the desired outcomes.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Self-respect. Respect for others. Acceptance of differences. These are the pillars of a Pathfinder education. The following principles are taught and practiced from Pre-Kindergarten through graduation:

  • I have the right to have the respect of others. I have the responsibility to respect others.
  • I have the right to feel safe. I have the responsibility to help others feel safe.
  • I will be kind to my fellow students and Pathfinder teachers and staff.
  • I take responsibility for my actions and my education.
  • I participate enthusiastically in the Pathfinder community with my fellow students, expecting that they will be my lifelong friends and colleagues.

Non-Discrimination Policy

The Pathfinder School admits students of any race, color, orientation, national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. The Pathfinder School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, orientation, national or ethnic origin, in its administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletic, personnel practices, or other school-administered programs.