Why we are changing

We aren't making our schools better, we're making them excellent.  

Strong schools mean strong communities, and are a factor that businesses and employees consider when deciding whether or not to locate here. Based on the numbers, we are in trouble:

  • Our fifth grade class this year is half of what it was a decade ago

  • Jefferson County median age is 54.7 years, the oldest in the state

  • Nearly half of our students are on free and reduced lunch

  • Over 40% of Jefferson County residents are considered working poor or in poverty.

These problems are real. Our community and schools are struggling. Families are leaving. Status quo solutions won't change this. With school funding lower every year, the deck is stacked against the existing model achieving better results. We are taking a different approach to improve the quality of learning.

Maritime Discovery Schools are making the school system itself a center of innovation and quality, student performance will improve, and our schools will attract people wanting the best for their children.

This shift to learning through a maritime framework is a "place-based" approach to education: learning is more effective when the abstract concepts of academia are tied to the experiences of the student’s community. Powerful learning isn't standardized, it's personal and relevant to the learner.  

Port Townsend is known throughout the world as a maritime community. We're surrounded by water on three sides; it is what uniquely defines us. Now our maritime character is activating our schools. We are using what’s here to improve our children's education.

Guiding principles

There is a direct correlation between a student's education and the health of a community.
 Learning is powerful when it is relevant and applicable.
Hands-on craftsmanship is a complement to intellect.
Our natural setting  is unique, and offers incredible opportunity for learning.