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Our School

Our Cutting-Edge Community Reimagines Learning


Gibson Ek is a choice high school offering an innovative educational model open to any Issaquah School District student looking for a more personalized, authentic, project-based approach to learning. We are a community of creators, thinkers, makers, artists, engineers, thespians, writers, scientists, marketers, designers, collaborators, friends, mentors and advocates – all reimagining learning together as we create a place where students find and develop their passions to make a difference in the world.

Real-World Learning

Rather than taking conventional classes for letter grades, Gibson Ek students learn through self-directed and guided projects, incorporating core academic content along the way. Certificated staff support and evaluate work through a set of core competencies focused on mastery-based learning. Two days a week, students intern with regional businesses and organizations to explore career interests and develop authentic project work with a working professional.

Design Thinking

Our complex and dynamic world needs people who can take initiative, think critically, persevere through failures, and collaborate in diverse communities. For this reason, we use Stanford University’s “design thinking” model as a framework for student projects. 

Diverse Goals

Students apply in eighth grade for fall admission. Our student body of about 200 reflects a wide diversity of goals, with graduates attending selective colleges; training for careers in the trades, technology or the arts; or going straight to work in the community.

Model of Excellence

We are …

  • a leading innovator in the worldwide Big Picture Learning network of schools, tapped to lead professional development in our region around our cutting-edge model
  • a key member of the national Mastery Transcript Consortium, helping to pilot the portfolio-based, narrative transcript portal now commonly used by universities to evaluate applicants from project-based schools worldwide
  • nominated by both BPL and MTC to The Canopy Project’s national database of “innovative learning environments”
  • a paradigm in Washington state for reimagining learning, highlighted as a model school for new graduation pathway options as well as a new Innovative Leaning Pilot program
  • a frequent host of regional, national and international visitors (nearly 100 in 2022-23 alone) seeking a first-hand look at our model 

GIBSON EK: Find Your Passion. Find Your Purpose. Make a Difference.

Our Vision

Students make a difference in our world, positively contributing to their communities and living lives of their own design.

Our Mission

We personalize learning for each student, guiding them as they engage in authentic project work in order to find and develop their passions and purpose to make a difference in the world.

Our Core Values

Commitment to a Personal Vision: Students and staff leverage their interests, strengths and talents to set meaningful, challenging and realistic goals, and they pursue these goals through failures and successes.

Authentic New Learning: Students and staff pursue learning that is real, personal and lasting, taking risks in a variety of settings while they acquire in-depth knowledge.

Application and Influence in the World: Students and staff are positive influences on their peers, school and community. They develop supportive relationships to solve problems and make contributions to the world.

Mastery-Based Learning: Students are prepared to thrive in college, career and life. Mastery learning is deep and enduring learning that can be applied across context and time for meaningful impact. Students gain the enduring knowledge, lifelong skills, and critical dispositions to succeed on a path of their choosing.

In 2021, staff created these short videos on important Gibson Ek concepts. But don't miss these resources:

Our Model

I acknowledge that I am on the Indigenous Land of Coast Salish people who have reserved treaty rights to this land, specifically the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe (sdukʷalbixʷ). I thank these caretakers of this land who have lived and continue to live here since time immemorial.


Image of Snoqualmie Indian Tribe Seal