The Traveling School

Inspire. Engage. Empower

Bozeman, MT   |
GuideStar Charity Check

The Traveling School

EIN: 81-0544729


The Traveling School amplifies student voices through transformative education to ignite positive change.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Jennifer Royall

Main address

PO Box 7058

Bozeman, MT 59771 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Equal opportunity in education

Secondary education

Environmental education

Leadership development

Population served info


Women and girls

NTEE code info

Secondary/High School (B25)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Fall Semester to southern Africa

During our fall semester, 16 students ages 15-18 and their four teachers explore southern Africa for 15 weeks. Rigorous experiential courses include: Math, History, Environmental Science, English, Physical Education, and Global Studies. Our custom-designed and place-based curriculum is based on the region of travel: Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. Academics focus on the impact of Apartheid on modern South Africa, wildlife biology, the complexities of the diamond industry, and contemporary issues of the region. Students engage in local communities, participate in community service, develop strong outdoor skills, and build self-confidence and leadership skills.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls

Our spring semester travels to South America. Traveling School students immerse in Spanish language study throughout the semester, building conversational skills and confidence. Standards-based courses designed to examine the region include: Math, History, Environmental Science, English, Physical Education, and Global Studies. Rigorous regional academics follow the course itinerary through Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia with an intensive focus on the Amazon rain forest, Machu Picchu and the Inca civilization, and contemporary politics. Students engage in local communities, participate in community service, develop strong outdoor skills, and build self-confidence and leadership skills.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls

Traveling School students unleash their inner explorer and discover the western United States with an adventurous spirit. Our Interdisciplinary curriculum asks students to confront the intersection of historical and contemporary issues through various lenses. Students navigate booming rapids while contemplating the social and economic effects of hydroelectric energy. They stargaze in the desert while discussing the injustices of dispossessed Indigenous homelands. They backpack through the Rocky Mountains while considering the geological, political and cultural forces that shape them. This 15-week semester develops students' critical inquiry skills, broadens their understanding of power, privilege and identity in the US, hones outdoor skills, and strengthens community-based leadership principles.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

International Coalition of Girls’ Schools (ICGS) 2023

Semester Schools Network 2023

National Association for Independent Schools (NAIS) 2023

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

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

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Adolescents

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success


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.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success


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

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success


Number of students per classroom during the reporting period

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success


Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

The Traveling School aims to provide an exceptional semester of learning and growth for high school girls. Our vision for this 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 build leadership skills as part of an all-female environment that fosters global competence and self-awareness. Traditionally, fall semesters are spent in southern Africa (traveling through Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa), while Spring semesters are spent in South America (Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia). Due to COVID-19, The Traveling School is now offering a semester based in the western US (Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Arizona) and will only run the US-based semesters in the 2021-2022 academic year.

Throughout the semester, we focus on:

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.

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 ED guides a staff of six, which oversees all program operations/

*Volunteer Board of Directors
The 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.

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. With the creation of the new western US semester, The Traveling School is continuing to build partnerships in this new course area as well.

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.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 2.71 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 9.3 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 11% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

The Traveling School

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

The Traveling School

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

The Traveling School

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of The Traveling School’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

Created in partnership with

Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$2,650 $82,868 $101,769 -$77,524 $102,665
As % of expenses -0.3% 8.7% 11.1% -19.3% 10.6%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$5,155 $80,827 $100,109 -$79,528 $100,684
As % of expenses -0.5% 8.5% 10.9% -19.7% 10.4%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $919,630 $1,030,591 $1,014,933 $475,842 $948,373
Total revenue, % change over prior year 4.0% 12.1% -1.5% -53.1% 99.3%
Program services revenue 90.7% 85.7% 76.5% 0.2% 68.8%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.1% 0.3% 0.6% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 9.5% 13.9% 22.7% 99.3% 31.1%
Other revenue -0.2% 0.1% 0.1% 0.6% 0.1%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $957,284 $947,723 $913,164 $402,515 $966,208
Total expenses, % change over prior year 12.2% -1.0% -3.6% -55.9% 140.0%
Personnel 40.2% 43.3% 46.2% 79.1% 47.1%
Professional fees 10.1% 8.1% 6.3% 5.2% 1.8%
Occupancy 3.5% 3.7% 4.0% 2.2% 0.1%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 13.6% 11.6% 13.2% 0.0% 12.1%
All other expenses 32.6% 33.4% 30.3% 13.4% 38.9%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $959,789 $949,764 $914,824 $404,519 $968,189
One month of savings $79,774 $78,977 $76,097 $33,543 $80,517
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $80,870
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $6,000 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $1,039,563 $1,028,741 $996,921 $438,062 $1,129,576

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 6.3 8.5 9.2 27.6 10.4
Months of cash and investments 6.3 8.5 9.2 27.6 10.4
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 4.7 5.8 7.3 14.2 7.2
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $501,386 $673,917 $701,561 $927,019 $838,262
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $17,351 $14,050 $7,975 $45,624 $5,669
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $10,769 $9,292 $15,292 $15,292 $15,292
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 53.7% 68.3% 52.4% 65.5% 78.4%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 28.2% 33.9% 21.5% 37.0% 29.1%
Unrestricted net assets $381,577 $462,404 $562,513 $482,985 $583,669
Temporarily restricted net assets $0 $0 N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 $0 N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $0 $0 $0 $150,851 $30,351
Total net assets $381,577 $462,404 $562,513 $633,836 $614,020

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


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

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Executive Director

Jennifer Royall

Jennifer is a lifelong educator whose Traveling School history began in 2003. She successfully ran semesters in Africa and South America and fell in love with the power of The Traveling School’s mission. She believes students learn best when the material is relevant and accessible and that the power of engaging in another culture can broaden personal points of view, enrich global understanding and transform lives. In 2008, Jennifer joined The Traveling School's administrative staff and later transitioned to the Head of School, becoming Executive Director in 2016. Prior to this, she spent nearly 20 years in the classroom. With a M.Ed. from Lesley College and a BA from Duke University, she earned her National Certification along the way. As a middle and high school teacher, she endeavored to broaden the traditional classroom by infusing place-based academics and engaging in local communities. In 2001, Jennifer received recognition for her efforts with a Milken National Educator Award.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

The Traveling School

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

The Traveling School

Board of directors
as of 11/22/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Christine Bacon

Christine Hrenya

Kim Belvin

Meredith Center

Karen Guile

Kyle Holt Hopkins

Natalie Trono

Flora Weeks

Chrissie Monaghan

Zoe Oldham

John McBride

Helen Wilson Burns

Cassy Harris

Lisa Power

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and 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 and 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

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/22/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/22/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.