Educational Institutions

The Traveling School

Inspire. Engage. Empower.

Bozeman, MT

Mission

The Traveling School empowers young women academically, physically and culturally through an experiential overseas high school semester.

Ruling Year

2014

Executive Director

Jennifer Royall

Main Address

PO Box 7058

Bozeman, MT 59771 USA

Keywords

nonprofit, academic, high school, education

EIN

81-0544729

 Number

8158280160

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Secondary/High School (B25)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

Through an experiential international semester, The Traveling School empowers young women to be engaged and confident leaders. Ultimately the organization aims to alter gender inequality by giving young women a high-value education that concentrates on leadership development. Our society continues to see fewer females in leadership positions across all sectors. Through rigorous academics, outdoor adventure and leadership development, students gain confidence, are engaged in global issues and develop leadership skills. Alumnae emerge from the program with the tools to become our next female leaders.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Fall Semester to southern Africa

Spring Semester to South America

Where we work

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Percentage of students who report being moderately or extremely engaged in their learning during their Traveling School semester.

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

Females,

Adolescents (13-19 years)

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Percentage of students report their Traveling School semester improved their ability to: exhibit confidence in their own opinions, develop personal leadership skills and adapt to new situations.

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Percentage of parents report the Traveling School semester increased their daughter's: confidence, perseverance, flexibility, willingness to fail.

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

The Traveling School aims to provide an exceptional semester of learning and growth for high school girls. Our vision for this international academic semester is to cultivate engagement, leadership, and confidence in these young women.

Through this experience, The Traveling School's objectives are for our students to develop the following traits:

*Inspired to Learn*
Students invest in their own learning process, incorporate new ways of thinking and multiple perspectives, and become the architect of their educational experience.

*Able to Adapt and Take Risks*
Students are willing to take calculated risks based upon possible successes rather than perceptions of difficulty of fear of failure. They are able to adapt and grow with challenging situations.

*Globally and locally engaged with widened perspectives*
Students engage with new situations and culture, recognize how cultural lenses affect perception, and travel with the spirit of a world citizen.

*Develop a Powerful Voice*
Students understand and practice expeditionary behavior to cultivate a successful group living experience and develop personal leadership techniques.

Over the course of a 15-week semester, students earn high school credit, develop outdoor skills, and immerse in diverse cultures as part of an all-female environment that fosters global competence and self-awareness. Fall semesters are spent in southern Africa traveling through Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. Spring semesters are spent in South America - Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.

The Traveling School uses a four-part focus to create a unique educational experience and personal growth for our students:

1. *Inspiring Academics*
The Traveling School emphasizes student-centered instruction that is inquiry-based and experiential in nature. Students earn full academic credit for six semester courses in mathematics, history and geography, science, English, foreign language (Spanish spring semester only), health and physical education, and global studies. Students learn quickly that the world is their classroom, and their teachers and books are a merely a few of their resources. Learning comes to life through the places we visit, the people we meet, and especially from the stories they tell us. Regional curriculum and custom-designed textbooks support academic activities and cultural experiences. We focus on critical thinking and understanding that many perspectives exist in any situation. Of course there are tests and readings, but there are also debates, interviews, and academic activities where students engage in the surrounding environment.

2. *Cultural Engagement*
Our students engage with new situations and cultures, recognize how cultural lenses affect perception, and travel with the spirit of a world citizen. Students practice language skills in local markets, engage in service projects and participate in homestays. These cultural activities allow students to establish relationships and become part of local communities. This cultural engagement helps cultivate self-awareness, respect, and a sense of environmental and social responsibility.

3.*Outdoor Adventure*
Students camp, hike, backpack, canoe, mountaineer, rock climb, rappel, mountain bike, whitewater raft, and more. Outdoor experiences push students to try new activities, embrace the unknown, turn challenging situations into opportunities, and assess risk and act appropriately so they can enter new experiences with self-awareness and confidence.

4. *Leadership Development*
Leadership skill development is practiced in all aspects of the Traveling School semester. Starting with self-leadership (self-awareness, self-care), students learn to become independent. Next, students develop strong communication and conflict resolution skills to build community and strong relationships and promote group responsibility. Students leave the semester with confidence in their own ideas and an ability to address conflict, exhibiting confidence as a leader.

*Highly Qualified Faculty The Traveling School hires teachers with teaching certifications, advanced degrees, and/or extensive relevant experience. Our faculty are trained in: risk management; mission and culture; educational philosophy, international travel protocols; crisis response; wilderness and international medicine; and leadership. *Administrative Staff The Executive Director articulates the school's vision and future. As the organization's leader, she supervises all programs; establishes standards of conduct; and develops and implements the educational goals. As the chief financial manager, they develop and maintain the budget and provide financial oversight for all spending and is responsible for ensuring the program is in compliance with standards in education, international travel and risk management. The two Academic Dean & Program Directors play pivotal roles in envisioning, creating and executing program ideas and strategies aligned with the school's mission. They serve as liaison between all aspects of the program overseas, the home office, our students and their families. The Development Director is responsible for planning, organizing, and directing all of the school's fundraising including major giving, annual giving, special events, campaigns and foundation giving. Additionally, they assist in marketing efforts. The Operations Manager oversee the school's finances and daily operations. The Admissions Manager oversees recruitment efforts and manages the admissions and enrollment process. They act as primary contact during the admissions process for students and their families. *Volunteer Board of Directors The eight-member Board of Directors consists of former faculty, parents, and community members who contribute to the school's success through its governance, strategic planning, and fiduciary oversight. *Accreditation Since 2004, The Traveling School has been accredited through the Council for Standards on International Educational Travel. This accreditation ensures The Traveling School follows best practices in standards of international youth education and exchange programs. *Domestic and International Partnerships. The Traveling School is a member of the Semester Schools Network (offering semester-long educational opportunities for high school students) and the National Coalition of Girls Schools (the leading advocate for girls' education with a distinct commitment to the transformative power of all-girls schools). In addition, The Traveling School's success is directly tied to our strong partnerships overseas which include international non-profits, schools, guiding services, and other overseas businesses. *Funding The majority of our revenue comes from earned income via student tuition. Remaining revenue is provided by individual donations and grants which fund our financial aid program. This structure provides secure funding for our growth and ensures our ability to provide financial aid to students.

The Traveling School assesses our program both quantitatively and qualitatively to better understand our impact and evaluate our progress.

*Student Growth: We measure student personal growth and skills development throughout the semester with our 'Student Skills Assessment'. Students self-assess growth in the following areas: Personal investment in own learning process; Adaptability and willingness to take risks in a variety of areas; Engagement in new situations and cultures; and development of personal leadership techniques.

*Student Feedback: During the program students assess their personal growth, the quality of their mentors and teachers, and the quality of their classes. After the program students are asked to assess the impact of the semester in the three areas of our mission: academic, cultural and outdoor leadership.

*Parent Feedback: Parents are asked to assess the enrollment and application process, as well as the impact of the semester in the three areas of our mission: academic, cultural and outdoor leadership.

*Faculty Feedback: Faculty assess how the curriculum and itinerary bring about a successful and balanced reflection of our mission's four core areas: transformational academics; cultural engagement; outdoor adventure; and powerful leadership development. Their suggestions for improvement are incorporated each semester.

This is a sample of the qualitative feedback we receive regularly from our alumnae:

“As far as preparation goes, The Traveling School prepared me better than grad school. I draw on the skills I learned during my semester with TTS more than I draw on my teaching or study skills. TTS taught me to approach unfamiliar situations with a patient and open heart. TTS showed me how to make meaningful connections with people who are different from me. TTS helped me refine my attitude and perspective in daily life. These are the skills that I have found truly make a difference." – Sarah, TTS Alumna, Fall 2009

“The Traveling School taught me to embrace and foster a critical consciousness of the world around me. I learned how to travel with limited access to internet and showers. I learned how to hand wash and hang-dry laundry, and how to sleep in a tent for four months. I gained a huge understanding and appreciation for the importance of empathy, and learned how to be both a leader and a flexible part of a team. Most importantly, TTS reminded me that I have a deep love of learning, and encouraged me to pursue education in non-conventional ways. It would not be an overstatement to say that I use skills I learned on TTS every day. My semester truly shaped the way that I interact with people around me and the way I interact with the world." – Mara, TTS Alumna, Fall 2013

Committed to helping high school girls become confident leaders, The Traveling School believes all students can benefit from an academic semester overseas. Young women experience growth in confidence and passion for learning when they are in an all-female environment. “The Traveling School transformed the way I approach education and taught me the true beauty of learning. The people and places that surrounded me were part of my history lessons. I learned trigonometry beside a baobab tree. The characters in my literature book described the very weather I felt on a daily basis. When I got back from my semester, I was inspired by the possibilities of learning. School was no longer only about good grades and getting through the day. My newly found self-confidence and love for learning allowed me to challenge myself by taking higher level classes and inspired me to engage more deeply. The shift in my focus from the result to the process itself showed me greater success than I had ever seen before." – Natalie, Traveling School Alumnae Since 2003, The Traveling School has impacted the lives of 385 teenage girls by providing them a transformative international high school semester. To date, The Traveling School has completed 32 semesters over the past 16 years, exploring the globe for 460 weeks or 3,360 days. The Traveling School has awarded nearly $1 million in financial aid and scholarship funds, and 40-60% of students receiving aid each semester. We have steadily increased funding for financial aid and scholarships over the past several years, but are still not able to fully meet the financial needs of our students and families. Our goal is to fully meet this need and increase our award size from 60% of tuition to 100% of tuition (full scholarships) so that cost is not a barrier for young women to attend our program. We continue to seek additional financial support from donors and foundations to help change the world, one girl at a time. “The Traveling School has given me the courage to be an independent and capable woman in this world. It has given me wider perspectives, and created opportunities of experience that I often refer back to in my daily life." – Emily, Traveling School Alumnae

External Reviews

Affiliations & Memberships

Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) 2018

Photos

Financials

The Traveling School

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

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  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Yes

Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Gender

Race & Ethnicity

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members and Volunteers.

Disability

Diversity Strategies

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We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
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We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
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We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
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We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
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We have a diversity committee in place
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We have a diversity manager in place
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We have a diversity plan
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We use other methods to support diversity
Diversity notes from the nonprofit
Building diversity plan and committee