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High Mountain Institute
531 County Rd 5A    
Leadville, Colorado  80461  
Private/Independent School
11 12 50 students


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Employer Description
The High Mountain Institute (HMI) is an independent school and gap year provider that focuses on experiential education and wilderness expeditions. HMI's academic program, the HMI Semester, is akin to a college study abroad program, but for high school students. HMI students, primarily high school juniors from public and private schools across the country, spend a full academic semester at HMI and return to their home schools invigorated about education, experienced in leadership, and more aware of the natural world around them. Students who attend the HMI Semester live on HMI’s campus surrounded by curious and ambitious peers in sustainable, off-the-grid cabins. Unique to HMI, students spend five weeks of the semester on extended backpacking and skiing expeditions in the mountains of Colorado and the canyons of Utah with their teachers and classmates. These wilderness expeditions–where students are challenged to push themselves, support their peers, and strive to reach their full potential–are the core of the HMI Semester experience. Over the course of the semester, students also complete a full course load of honors and AP-level classes that allow them to reintegrate smoothly into their home academic environments. In their remaining years of high school and beyond, alumni consider their semester at HMI one of the most important and formative periods of their lives.

In addition to the HMI Semester, HMI also runs a gap year program for high school graduates and a summer program for high school students. 

Mission: The High Mountain Institute engages students with the natural world. Our school boldly unites rigorous intellectual inquiry, experiential learning, wilderness expeditions, and shared responsibility in a strong community. Our students realize their potential—as leaders, independent thinkers, and thoughtful citizens.

Core Values: 
  1. Mentorship in and out of the classroom
  2. Transference of what students learn beyond HMI
  3. Place- and community-based education
  4. Process-based learning that teaches students how to think, not what to think and conveys a passion for learning
  5. Integration of the natural world, academics, and residential life
Diversity Mission Statement
The High Mountain Institute believes that both diversity and inclusion are essential to growth and learning. We all achieve our potential when each person in the community feels a true sense of belonging and has the confidence to express their full self. At HMI, inclusiveness starts with an intentional and affirming community. Creating such a community is our priority. We connect deeply to each other through classes, wilderness expeditions, and shared responsibilities. We prioritize open communication and honest conflict resolution. These efforts inspire us to build trust, to value diverging perspectives, and to build communities greater than ourselves. 

Historically, outdoor programs like HMI have attracted largely white and privileged populations. At times, this has made it challenging for all at our school to feel fully part of our community. We seek to address these challenges at HMI by increasing the diversity of our students, faculty, staff, trustees, and advisers; by creating classes and activities that explore and reflect students’ identities; by expanding the cultural competence of faculty and staff; and by continually challenging the assumptions we hold. 

We engage with this challenging work because we are committed to building an exceptional learning environment rooted in community—not just for some, but for all who seek to be inspired by the natural world.