Mission Statement

Through authentic academic experiences and a culture of holistic wellness embedded in strong diverse community, 5280 High School prepares all students for success in college, their future career, and anything life throws at them.



5280 High School students solve real-world problems in their communities through authentic learning experiences.  Students graduate 5280 as emotionally vibrant, academically successful young adults, with a variety of college acceptances and job prospects.  Since all students live balanced, meaningful lives and are engaged in positive peer relationships that hold them accountable to their goals, they persist and succeed in all future endeavors.  5280 students in the Summit Program integrate the principles of recovery into their daily lives and educational journeys.  They are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and social capital to establish life-long, vibrant recovery.


Design Principles

The 5280 High School design principles permeate every aspect of the school, and drive the school’s structures and systems:

  • Equity:  We are intentionally diverse and integrated, and all students engage in a rigorous curriculum that prepares them for college as well as the competitive workplace.  Students are held to high standards and given personalized supports to ensure success without academic tracking.  Our teachers value the richness that a diverse student body brings to the classroom, and work to create a culture that allows all students to reach their full potential.  We are a full-inclusion school.
  • Authenticity:  Students engage in purposeful work that is meaningful to them and their community.  Students develop ownership over their learning by having voice and choice in projects that are built upon their personal experience and interests.  Curriculum is built around work that matters, often in the form of projects produced for a public audience or to address concerns of the larger community.  Students consult with outside experts and participate in fieldwork, community service, and academic internships at local companies, nonprofits, and public agencies.  
  • Intentional Community:  Teachers and students know each other well, and strong relationships and school community are pillars of 5280.  Recognizing that identity development and personal growth occur in the context of community, we foster relationships of trust and mutual respect among students and adults through small school size, small classes, home visits, advisories, student collaborative work, and intentional community activities at the start of each day.  For a school to be an excellent learning place for students, it must also be a rewarding workplace for teachers.  Teachers design the curriculum and the courses they teach, and are given the flexibility and autonomy necessary to passionately empower their students to meet rigorous academic objectives.  Teachers also work collaboratively to address school issues and are active participants in critical decisions such as professional development, assessment, hiring, and other significant matters.
  • Joy & Meaning:  School should be joyful and engaging for students and staff.  Working hard and having fun don’t need to be separate—they often go hand in hand.  Our morning and afternoon wellness programs are designed to be mindful of long-term outcomes and promote the diverse aspects of living a meaningful life, including physical, mental, social, emotional, occupational, environmental, spiritual, and financial health.  5280 projects help students build agency and internal sense of control, cultivate personal reflection, learn from their mistakes, and gain empathy for others.