ABOUT Windward

Connecting outdoor exploration with indoor investigations!

How It All Began

Windward School began as a conversation in the winter of 2017 among the parents of homeschooled and alternative schooled children.

A group of a half dozen parents gathered that winter to discuss what they wanted their child to learn, what they felt was needed in the community, and how a program could be developed to be sustainable and affordable for a diverse group of students.

The simple explanation for what these parents were looking for was “what they couldn’t teach at the kitchen table by themselves.” They wanted to send the kids to a program that would let them do the big messy things, the group challenges, and the cross-cultural connections that couldn’t be met in the comforts of their home. And, they wanted this to be a drop-off program, because home-based educators need time too!

Windward School was launched

In the spring of 2017 a pilot program was launched under the NW Discovery Lab, with Frances Rice leading a two-day-per-week program. When the spring quarter ended the NW Discovery Lab board looked at what worked and what didn’t, and went back to the drawing board to shape the program into what families were looking for.

Over the summer of 2017 the program for Windward became solidified. Keeping it affordable, accessible, and not-for-profit were the cornerstones of this plan. With help from WSU 4-H, the NW Discovery Lab created the Windward School Program, and classes in Port Townsend began in fall 2017.

In the spring of 2018, classes in Sequim were started, meeting the growing demands of a young Sequim community.

In winter of 2019, classes were moved from Port Townsend to Chimacum, providing a more centralized location for families in Jefferson county and beyond.

In the spring of 2019, Windward School became its own non-profit.


Windward School began under the NW Discovery Lab as an incubator project, and by the winter of 2018-2019 it began the transition to its own non-profit corporation. Windward, a non-profit corporation, formed in January 2019 as a registered Washington State non-profit corporation.

Windward operates with three key groups: Parents, Teachers, and the Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors is comprised of a President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Members At Large. This board's role is to ensure the stability of the organization, by overseeing the accounting, budgets, contracts, fundraising, and vision. The board works to maintain the original vision of the program. Such as, affordability, accessibility, experiential education, and community involvement. Board members may be parents, or community members, and all are volunteers.

Parents & Teachers

Parents are voting members of the organization, so they vote on the Board of Directors annually. With frequent socials, coffee dates, and parent meetings, the parents are instrumental in shaping and leading the direction of Windward's lessons and logistics. If the Board is the brain of the organization, the Parents are the heart.

Teachers are, of course, most instrumental in the rhythm, balance, and content of Windward's days. Teachers take guidance from the board and parents, merging the Windward vision with their own teaching experiences and passions, to create a holistic experience for students.