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At A Glance

The Pathfinder School

The Pathfinder School is a coeducational private alternative school for students in grades Pre-K through 8.

Institution Type: Private Setting: Rural


The Pathfinder School's Full Profile



The Pathfinder School says

Since 1972, Pathfinder's academically vigorous program has been on the cutting edge of education, developing critical thinking skills, intellectual curiosity and an unparalleled love of learning through Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences pedagogy. Our mission is to discover and develop each student's individual abilities by investing in a community of families and teachers in which serious study flourishes alongside creativity, responsibility and enthusiasm. At Pathfinder, children feel safe to be themselves, think independently, work cooperatively, become avid learners and strive to make a difference in the lives of others. For the past 40 years, The Pathfinder School has been inspiring children to achieve their personal best as lifelong learners, young global citizens, creative thinkers and stewards of the Earth. Our students are motivated to look beyond the outward appearance of things towarddeeper understanding.The basis of allinquirybegins with the fundamental question, "How am I and all other thingsconnected to this topic?" This question arises time and time again in all of our classrooms - grades Pre-Kindergarten through 8th. Consequently, student learning is grounded in relevance and the positive results, as measured both by student achievement and engagement, are irrefutable.MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES - In our classrooms, we emphasize deep understanding of varying concepts throughexperience-based learning while employing the Multiple Intelligences pedagogy developed by Howard Gardner. There is a constant flow of new information on how the human brain operates, how it differs in function between genders, how emotions impact intellectual acuity, even on how genetics and environment each impact our children’s cognitive abilities. While each area of study has its merits, Howard Gardner of Harvard University identified differentKINDSof intelligence we possess. This has particularly strong ramifications in the classroom, because if we can identify children's different strengths among these intelligences, we can accommodate different children more successfully according to their orientation to learning. Teaching with this understanding has been a primary focus at Pathfinder since the school's inception in 1972. Many of our faculty attendedHarvard Graduate School of Education'sProject Zerowhere the Gardner pedagoy is taught. As a result, our veteran educators continue to develop aresponsive and engaging curriculumbased on the most current research in teaching and learning. By staying on the cutting edge of education, we develop higher achieving students who are inspired to become more active learners as a result of their natural curiosity and joy in finding success. PATHFINDER IS... The only accredited independent day school serving Pre-Kindergarten - 8th Grade studentsFully accredited by the Independent School Association of the Central States (ISACS)Small classes and personal attention; Individualized instruction with a student:faculty ratio of 8 to 1Dedicated teachers whose real-life field experience adds relevance to classroom instructionAn engaging and responsive curriculum built on the proven principles of experiential educationRecognized increasingly as a destination school, attracting families from across the countryA 22-acre wooded campus brimming with learning opportunities nestled on the shores of Cedar Lake and Grand Traverse BayMany opportunities for parental involvement including an active parents’ association, community building activities, and adult educationCentrally and conveniently located 3 miles from downtown Traverse City at the base of the Leelanau PeninsulaA school culture that honors diversity in its many forms and promotes civility: our school admits students of any race, color and national or ethnic originA GREEN CERTIFIED SCHOOL with a robust compost, recycling and no waste program for our students to experience and learn from.PLEASE NOTE: The YouTube videos you see at the bottom of this page ARE NOT FOR OUR SCHOOL. To learn more about Pathfinder (located in Traverse City, MI) please visit our Facebook page or website.




Private schools, including parochial and boarding, are funded through tuition and fees. The cost varies from school to school, but most families pay tuition to attend them. Many private schools offer financial aid or discounts, so it's worthwhile to ask about these options.


  (231) 995-3800
  [email protected]

Students and Faculty

Students and Faculty

Enrollment Data

Total Enrollment 109
Enrollment By Grade
Grade Number of Students
Pre-K 23
Kindergarten 5
1 8
2 8
3 9
4 14
5 5
6 12
7 11
8 14

The Pathfinder School's relatively variable enrollment profile may offer insights into student retention rates, local population changes, real estate costs, and the accessibility of alternative educational options. to find out more about the specific factors influencing The Pathfinder School's enrollment numbers.

Student Teacher Ratio 6 : 1
Gender 45% Male / 55% Female
Student Diversity
Percentage of Student Body
White 76%
Multi-racial 2%
Hispanic/Latino 1%
Asian 1%
American Indian or Alaska Native 1%


  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Soccer
  • Track and Field
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Soccer
  • Track and Field
  • Volleyball

Associations & Memberships

State or regional independent school association

National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)

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