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High School Semester

High School Semester

Fall & Spring
Academic Semesters

Our 100-day semester program is place-based and experiential, immersing students in both the natural and cultural landscape of South Eleuthera. Consequently, each course includes a field component. In the applied scientific research course, students collect and analyze data for a wide spectrum of investigations, including fisheries research, sustainable energy and food production systems.

The crux of Humanities coursework stems from cultural immersion experiences throughout the semester. In addition to opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue with Bahamian students at Deep Creek Middle School, Island School students spend considerable time learning from residents of Eleuthera's settlements, small towns of fewer than 1,000 people.

Rounding out the semester are the physical and outdoor education programs. Not only do students spend five mornings each week training for either a half-marathon or four mile open-ocean swim, but also they participate in kayak or sailing expeditions and earn PADI’s Open Water Diver certification. During their second, 8-day expedition, students have the opportunity to reflect on their experience during a 48-hour wilderness solo experience. 

Ultimately, our rigorous program provides a transformative educational experience for our students. Daily life on campus allows Island Schoolers to gain deep understandings of leadership, sustainability, community, and sense of place without the distractions of cell phones and internet, living closely with peers and faculty alike. Our admissions process is competitive; selected students demonstrate solid academic performance, leadership potential, and a high degree of self-motivation.


Fall 2017

August 28
Students Arrive

November 15 - 18
Parents Weekend

December 5
Students Depart

Spring 2018

March 4
Students Arrive

May 23 - 26
Parents Weekend

June 12
Students Depart


The Island School mission for creating a better world through education is both bold and tangible- and the effort they are exerting is creating clear results. A School can be a model of what we want to do in the world. It is a at a scale small enough to get our mind around, yet big enough to be significant.

Dr. David Orr, Professor of Environmental Studies, Oberlin College



We find that the students who attend The Island School return to us with increased environmental awareness and enhanced problem solving skills. For many, the experience seems
nothing short of transformational.

Robert P. Henderson, Head of Noble and Greenough School


Summer Term

Summer Term

Summer Term
Abbreviated Semester

The Island School Summer Term is an abbreviated, 30-day intensive version of the Fall / Spring semester program. Through a rigorous course of study that includes field work in local ecosystems, explorations of local settlements and the socioeconomic impacts of development, and dynamic interaction with campus' sustainable systems, Summer Term students grapple with how communities – on an island in The Bahamas and beyond – can live most sustainably. The Summer Term curriculum invites students to think about resources upon which we rely:

  • How do we protect fragile ecosystems?
  • How can we harness natural sources of energy?
  • Where does our food come from?
  • Where does our fresh water come from?
  • How much does all of this cost?

Students will be introduced to marine research at the Cape Eleuthera Institute, engaging in studies crucial to understanding our planet's ocean ecosystems. Every participant will leave with a greater understanding of, and admiration for the world around them, inspired to make their home community more sustainable. Many students will earn a high school science credit in Human Ecology. Students will be asked to complete written and oral assessments related to their nightly reading, field research and class discussions. At the same time, students will be actively involved – both physically and intellectually – in their learning experience. Educational opportunities during the day range from surveying mangrove creeks to exploring the land surrounding campus and learning about local plants and using them in their next meal to studying coral reef ecosystems while SCUBA diving in Marine Ecology class.

Students’ routine includes the same physical challenge that Island School semester students embrace: five mornings each week of training for a culminating endurance event of running and swimming, the famed, 'Monster Run-Swim.' Additionally, Summer Term students will venture out in kayaks and experience a 24-hour solo in order to reflect on their learning on Eleuthera.

Summer 2017

June 25
Students Arrive

July 22 - 25
Parents Weekend

July 25
Students Depart


Expeditionary Summer Term

Expeditionary Summer Term


In addition to sailing across Exuma Sound, this four-week journey involves hands-on scientific research that will make a substantial impact on policy and conservation efforts in the Bahamas. Throughout their 19 days at sea, students will develop sailing and navigation skills in a multitude of open water conditions. This training will include understanding points of sail, weather patterns and tidal effects. On board, everyone will be accountable for the success of the sail with rotating skipper responsibilities. The voyage will navigate the Exuma Sound, visiting remote islands and collecting important data on keystone species.

  • Sailboat: Out on the water, the boat acts as a closed system. Students will learn about the importance of reducing and reusing the resources allotted on the boat. This mobile classroom will also teach students many lessons in sustainability and beyond. 

  • Solo: The 'solo' experience is a staple of both The Island School and Outward Bound courses and the associated solitude will afford students a pause for reflection during an otherwise busy expedition. 
  • Campsite: The campus will act as another means for students to learn about conservation and how sustainability can be tied into their daily lives at home. When on campus, students will camp in platform tents and drink rain-collected water extracted from cisterns with solar-powered pumps. 

Research Component

During the program, students will be assigned to one of four on-going research projects with the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI). Under the tutelage of head researchers, students will gain the tools to collect data independently across study sites throughout the Exuma Islands. This data will be compared to baseline data collected around Eleuthera and ultimately presented to the CEI community by the students upon their return to campus. 

  • Queen Conch: Survey juvenile Queen Conch (Strombus gigas) colonies to identify fishing pressures to local populations due to the species' susceptibility to overfishing.
  • Marine Debris: Study the biological impact of ocean pollution on pelagic fishes of economic and ecologic importance in the western central Atlantic Ocean.
  • Bonefish Population Assessments: Aid in the expansion of bonefish population assessments from South Eleuthera to the Exuma Cays; this species is a natural resource of great economic importance to the region. 
  • Rapid Environmental Assessments (REAs): Participate in a baseline study of mangrove swamps to document the impact of climate change and shoreline development on these essential ecosystems. 

For more information email Karen Knight at karenknight@islandschool.org

Expeditionary Summer 2017

June 28
Students Arrive

July 27 - 29
Graduation and Research Symposium

July 29
Students Depart


Teaching Philosophy

Teaching Philosophy


Less is more. The emphasis is on understanding and applying
ideas and skills rather than covering content.


Students are active participants in the learning process.
The classroom is a true seminar where everyone is sharing
information. The teacher is the facilitator and guide, not the
omniscient lecturer.


The learning process is accelerated when students are
pushed outside of their comfort zones.
Challenge begets positive growth.


A focus for all disciplines is connection to place.
Students must be immersed in the environment
and challenged to articulate what they sense.


The academic work has real world application.
There is an actual job to be done that raises the bar
beyond the quest for a final grade.


Assessment is an ongoing process, allowing time for
revision and clear explanation of expectations. The
skill-based assessment process transcends disciplines
and fosters a more in-depth learning journey.


There must be time for digestion and reflection.


The teacher can and should be prepared to participate
in assignments and provide models and rubrics.


The classroom must be an open arena where students
feel safe challenging ideas, where there is consistent
faculty peer review. The classroom door is always open.





Fosters a journey of self-discovery through exploring interpretations of the human experience in various texts, and cultivating their own voice through an intensive focus on writing development. Check out the bi-annual community literary magazine, Tides.

Literature and Writing


Encourages students to develop a personal relationship with the landscape, provides them with the tools to become keen observers of their surroundings, and requires them to view the natural world both as the canvas and the material for their artwork.

Land and Environmental Art

Applied Scientific Research



Allows students to apply concepts from multiple disciplines taught at The Island School to field-based projects of local and regional significance. Students work collaboratively with research advisors at the Cape Eleuthera Institute to address environmental challenges in The Bahamas. If you would like to learn more about the students’ research projects, click here. If you would like to view students’ research posters, click here.

Focuses on the subjective experience of history by encouraging students to learn from Bahamians directly during immersion experiences including community explorations and community outreach at Deep Creek Middle School.

Histories of the Bahamas

Centers on one complex question: What does it mean to live on an island? Investigating this question leads the students to explore the manifold ways that their lives interact with the natural world and how these interactions, in turn, affect the environment of South Eleuthera, their home communities, and the wider world around them.

Island School Seminar

Uses SCUBA diving and free-diving to explore the waters and near-shore ecosystems surrounding Cape Eleuthera. Students use weekly dives to develop ecological literacy in natural history as well as the curriculum requisite dive skills that support these excursions.

Marine Ecology

Provides students with opportunities to build a fundamental understanding of the statistical and mathematical analysis that can help them better comprehend the world around them. Each student will have a chance to employ acquired skills in their Applied Science Research course.

Applied Mathematics


Check out all program details in the above PDF documents





Our students learn alongside passionate and dedicated educators from a wide variety of backgrounds. We are all educators: whether we have dedicated years of higher education to our disciplines, have lived on Eleuthera our entire life, or are conducting scientific research at the Cape Eleuthera Institute. Below is a list of the professionals working most closely with Island School semester students. 

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Ashley Waldorf
Director of The Island School

Ashley graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Sociocultural Anthropology and Professional Writing and specializations in Peace and Justice Studies and Health and Wellness Promotion. In 2008, Ashley accepted a position as a Teach For America corps member and taught for three years in California, simultaneously pursuing a Master's degree in Education at Alliant International University. Looking to foster experiential learning methods, Ashley then spent one year working in outdoor education. In 2012, Ashley returned to TFA to work with the same community she initially taught, this time coaching teachers in pedagogy and practice.  Ashley has attended workshops in leadership, experiential education, positive psychology, and critical thinking. Ashley joined The Island School community in 2014 as a Histories and Literature teacher after finding the curriculum and program matched her education philosophy focused on holistic development.  In her spare time, Ashley enjoys running, backpacking, reading and adventuring outside.

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Lia-Lucine Cary
Histories Teacher and Communications Educator

Lia-Lucine believes that stories are what connect us as humans. When recorded, they have the potential of eternalizing moments and people. She is thrilled to be working with Island School students to help create and share their stories. Lia has a BA in Archaeology and Classics and a MA in Education. She conducted archaeological fieldwork on Etruscan and Roman sites in Cortona, Italy as well as lab work preserving artifacts from Timucuan tribes in northern Florida. She has created documentary films on the Hare Krishna and Turkish/ Armenian relations. She joined Teach for America in 2011 where she taught History and English in rural Hawai'i. In 2015, she created a podcast called StoryHound to share the stories she has recorded and edited over the years. In the summers and winters, Lia works for Outward Bound where she leads expeditionary sailing, backpacking, and canoeing trips. She enjoys playing the accordion, surfing, and searching for treasure.

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Jenna Gersie
Literature and Writing Teacher

Jenna Gersie holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in environmental studies from Skidmore College and Green Mountain College, respectively. For both, she concentrated on environmental literature and writing. She is particularly interested in how literature allows us to form perceptions of place and understand meanings of home. Jenna has held various positions in environmental education and study abroad, most recently as a program associate for SIT Study Abroad programs in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. She is an editor for the environmental literary magazine The Hopper, and her own writing has appeared in Orion magazine, The Goose, and Dirt magazine, among others, and is forthcoming from Kudzu House Quarterly. She has also coached high school swimming, lifeguarded for nine years, and worked with sea turtle conservation projects in Australia, Florida, and Indonesia.

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Cam Raguse
Research Teaching Fellow

Through Cam's previous positions working with the Shark Research and Conservation Program and the Educational Programs team at CEI, Cam has developed a passion for teaching as well as a dedication to studying and preserving the natural environment. Prior to becoming fully immersed in the Cape community, he graduated with a bachelors in Marine Biology from Eckerd College and has shared his knowledge of marine ecosystems through programs at local schools in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Cam is an avid runner, and also enjoys fishing, free-diving, and playing beach volleyball in his spare time. 

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Alex Cook
CSD Research Teacher

Alex hails from Lancaster, Ohio but has lived in California, Chilé, Michigan, and Colorado. Alex graduated from the University of Dayton in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in Geology. He returned to the university to earn a teaching credential in Earth Science in 2010. Alex has been professionally involved with outdoor and experiential education for the last ten years. He has taught classes on backpacking and kayaking, planned student-centered backpacking and climbing trips, instructed students at a residential outdoor educational facility in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and led National Parks camping trips. Alex's relationship with The Island School dates back to the Fall of 2014 when he volunteered for the Cape family. Today, in addition to his teaching responsibilities, Alex is an advisor and manages the Bike Shed. In his free time, Alex loves free-diving, slack-lining, and rock climbing.

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Leigh Schmitt
 Seminar and CSD Research Teacher

Leigh joined the faculty at The Island School in 2013 after 15 years teaching at independent schools in New England and California. He holds undergraduate degrees from Union College in History and French and from the University of Massachusetts in Plant and Soil Sciences. This December, Leigh will earn a Master’s degree from Green Mountain College in Environmental Studies and Conservation Biology. At The Island School, Leigh co-teaches both a Sustainability Seminar and Research class, and supports the Center for Sustainable Development in conducting food security research, implementing greening and sustainability initiatives, and incorporating permaculture design schemes on campus.  Additionally, he leads kayak trips, coaches swimming and running, and is passionate and deeply committed to the school’s farm program.  Leigh is a former professional and nationally ranked ultra-marathon runner, and still humbly participates in any and all water sports and attempts to keep up with his active family and children (ages 12 ad 8).  His wife, Lisa, is the Assistant Principal at the Deep Creek Middle School, and his kids attend DCMS and the Early Learning Center respectively.  This year, Leigh is writing a children’s book on the ecology of The Bahamas.  He also plans to run the 110-mile length of Eleuthera as part of a community outreach event. 

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Liz Slingsby
Dean of Students

Liz has been a professional in the field of outdoor education for more than eight years, the last three of which were spent as Director of the Gap Year program on Cape Eleuthera. Liz received her BSc in Physical Geography in The UK. With her degree in hand, Liz combined her passion for the ocean and her passion for education by teaching in the Florida Keys at an experiential education facility, The Newfound Harbor Marine Institute. In 2012, Liz fulfilled a childhood dream to live and work in the ‘land-down-unda’ – taking outdoor education to a new level in the Australian bush by teaching lessons in ocean conservation and sustainability in the landlocked wilderness. After careful consideration, Liz transitioned to The Cape Eleuthera Island School in April 2013 to become director of the Gap Year Program, and is now head of The Island School Summer Term and the Dean of Students for The Island School semester program.

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Rikka Wommack
Literature and Writing Teacher

Rikka grew up on the Maine coast, and graduated from Carleton College with a degree in Religion. She then spent four years working in both publishing and the nonprofit sector before returning to graduate school. In 2015 she earned a Master's of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction Writing at the University of Montana in Missoula, where she taught undergraduate composition and creative writing and was named the Tim O'Leary and Michelle Cardinal Prose Scholar. Rikka spent the following fall in Zermatt, Switzerland, teaching English literature at Swiss Semester. She joins us from Big Sky, Montana, where she enjoys hiking, skiing, and the mountain life.

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Kate Kincaid
Research Department Head

Kate graduated from Bangor University, UK with a degree in Zoology and Marine Zoology in 2004. Following this, Kate spent a year traveling the world before returning to study a Masters in Marine Conservation. Kate worked for a UK non-profit organization on Andros, The Bahamas for 3 years teaching marine conservation. It was here she met her husband, fellow Island School teacher Jason Kincaid. Kate and Jason then travelled the world working on sailing yachts. Kate is currently finishing her PhD thesis in fisheries and marine conservation from Memorial University, Canada.  Kate has been part of the IS community since 2012 and has worked as a research advisor in past semesters before taking on her current role. Kate is mummy to Rose (2 years) who has grown up on Eleuthera. Outside of work, Kate enjoys family time, sailing, swimming, traveling and exploring the world through the eyes of a toddler.

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Flora Weeks
Math Teacher

Flora graduated from Middlebury College in 2012 with a joint major in Geology and Environmental Studies.  She chose this major in equal parts for her academic interests and the ample opportunities it provided to be outside.  Since college she has worked in experiential education, spending summers leading service trips to China and Thailand with Lakeside School (Seattle), and teaching math at three semester schools.  Teaching at Woolman (California) and Maine Coast Semester sold her on the hands-on, immersive education of the semester school model.  She is thrilled to now work for The Island School where she teaches math, leads kayak and sail trips, and loves jumping into the ocean any chance she can get.  

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Patrick Lamontagne
Histories Teacher

Patrick has been a part of The Island School family for nearly eight years, beginning when he was a student in the semester program in 2008. Patrick returned to Cape Eleuthera two years ago to teach for The Island School's Summer Term. Unable to stay away, Patrick decided to stay and work on the Cape as a teacher with the Cape Eleuthera Institute's Educational Programs team for a year before joining The Island School faculty in Fall 2015 as a Histories Teacher. A graduate of Bishop’s University (Canada) with a degree in International Studies and Economics, Patrick has worked to advance the Humanities curriculum at The Island School. On top of Patrick’s role in the classroom, he is a sailing expedition leader, a dive instructor and a swim coach at The Island School. Whether under water or in the classroom, Patrick enjoys fostering a sense of community at the school he grew to love while he was a student.

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Lizzy Reed
Histories Teaching Fellow

Lizzy graduated from Middlebury College magna cum laude in 2015. She majored in Sociology and Anthropology and received honors on her senior thesis, Title IX and Women’s Athletics: The Sports Bra as an Iron Cage. She minored in Education Studies and Global Health. Lizzy was a co-captain of the Varsity Volleyball team and rowed in the women's first varsity 8 boat on the crew team.  After graduation, Lizzy was an editorial intern with Sports Illustrated and served as a volunteer coordinator for a local United Way. 

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Caleb Florence
Math Teacher

Caleb graduated from Kenyon College in 2014 where he studied economics and environmental studies and was an All-Conference and captain of the men’s varsity lacrosse team.  Following graduation, Caleb took a position teaching mathematics and economics at Vermont Academy.  In addition to his teaching duties, Caleb was the boys’ varsity lacrosse coach, residential dorm parent, and 9th and 10th grade academic advisor.  During the summers, Caleb works at Camp Dudley, an all-boys camp in Westport, New York, as an athletic department and leadership development team staff member. 

Looking to blend his teaching, coaching, outdoors, and leadership experiences, Caleb joins the Island School to teach mathematics, coach running and swimming, and assist the outdoor programs.  In his spare time, Caleb enjoys fly fishing, skiing, baking and eating bread, and free-diving. 

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Maria White
Environmental Art Teacher

Maria holds a BA in Visual Arts Education with a studio emphasis in painting and a minor in psychology from Ball State University. She is also a National Outdoor Leadership School semester alumna and holds a Wilderness First Responder certification. After graduating, she headed to Alaska to work as a sea kayak guide before coming to the Island School for the first time as a a fellow teaching Environmental Art. After the fellowship, she moved back to Alaska where she has since worked as a snorkeling guide, an outdoor recreation specialist for adults with disabilities, and a substitute teacher. She also designed and taught an ongoing series of youth art classes in collaboration with the local arts council. In her free time, she enjoys free-diving, beachcombing, and making jewelry with what she finds on the beach.

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Allison Peace
Wellness Educator (DCMS and Island School)

Allison is originally from a small town in Canada’s only desert. She studied child and youth development on the west coast of Canada at the University of Victoria. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in Child and Youth Care she worked in a variety of community agencies supporting children ranging in age from 1-19. Most recently Allison worked as a Wellness Educator, School Counsellor and Boarding Student Advisor at an international boarding school in Victoria, BC, Canada while completing her Master’s of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology. Her thesis was focused on student wellness, which led her into developing a comprehensive student wellness program aimed to educate students on health and wellness and inspire and guide them into successful, balanced and fulfilling futures. Allison is thrilled to be joining both The Island School and Deep Creek Middle School! 

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Maxwell Maloberti
Marine Ecology Teacher

Maxwell graduated from Dickinson college in 2016 where he studied Biology and was a member of the swim and squash teams.  Maxwell has broad experience in leading eco-tourism around the world.  He has worked as a dive master in Thailand, as a safari guide in South Africa and in animal conservation in Australia. He has conducted reef research in Mozambique and the Seychelles. In the past, Maxwell has worked as a hiking guide, naturalist, and sailing instructor at summer camps.  Maxwell is also a WEMT (Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician) and he volunteers for the Jackson Ambulance Service in his hometown of Jackson, New Hampshire.  As an Alumnus of the Island School, Maxwell first returned in 2015 and then again in 2016 as a Marine Ecology teacher for the Island School’s Summer Term Program. In his free time Maxwell enjoys free-diving, playing the ukulele, and photography. 

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Nick Archibald
Environmental Art Teacher

After completing his undergraduate degree in Fine Arts at the University of Victoria in Canada, Nick Archibald followed his creative pursuits into the film and television industry, as well as establishing himself as a practicing artist. Nick then pursued his passion for art education and youth leadership at St. Michaels University School. He became a House Parent for a boys’ boarding house, as well as an Art Intern. Nick then completed his second Bachelor’s degree at the University of Victoria in secondary education. During this time, Nick broadened his interest in Indigenous education, partaking in an intensive Indigenous Education Institute program in 2015. A main focus of his studies at this time was engaging students with social justice and activism through art. Nick has since taught at both the Middle School and Senior School levels. In his spare time, Nick enjoys camping, canoeing, surfing, fishing, and many other outdoor activities. 

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Jason Kincaid
Marine Ecology Teacher

Jason grew up in southern New Hampshire, then moved to southern Ohio for high school and college.  Graduating with a degree in computer network systems, Jason started working for Ohio schools, teaching teachers how to use school networks. After gaining his Dive Instructor qualification, Jason moved to Andros Island in The Bahamas to teach week-long programs to visiting high school and college marine biology students. Teaching primarily coral reef ecology and water sports, Jason stayed in the islands for six years. Jason then traveled around the world for three years with a job in the hospitality industry, only to come back to the Bahamas to take up teaching again. As a Marine Ecology teacher, Dive Instructor, swim coach, and a kayak / sail expedition leader, Jason uses his past experience in The Bahamas to educate students about the amazing underwater world. By trade, Jason is also a USCG Boat Captain, SCUBA instructor, kayak guide, and enjoys all water sports, especially sailing.


Looking for researchers and other Cape Eleuthera community members? Check out the Cape Eleuthera Foundation and Cape Eleuthera Institute team pages.

Interested in working for The Island School or its affiliate organizations? Check out open positions on the Cape Eleuthera Foundation website.


Other Programs

Other Programs

The High School Seniors who participate in our Senior Project Program are those individuals who have an interest in interning with an Island School or CEI staff member on a project specified by the needs on campus. Each senior will be assigned a senior project mentor and receive his/her daily schedule and work guidelines from that staff member. Senior Project interns should expect to maintain a full day of work as directed by their mentor and should view this internship as a chance to participate in ongoing research or other campus studies. Senior Project interns will live on campus and be active members of our community for the duration of their stay.

Other Cape Eleuthera Institute Educational Programs for students of all ages, elementary students through university undergraduates. High school graduates may also apply to be research interns with scientists at the Institute.

The Island School offers a variety of programs for post-secondary students, college graduates and professionals looking to enrich themselves personally and professionally. From the Master Teacher program, to our summer Teacher Conference, to our Teaching Fellows program, these opportunities serve to challenge and enlighten participants in our unique setting. Programs are offered year round at our Cape Eleuthera campus where students, educators and researchers live together on an island in a sustainable environment.