We are an independent, Reggio Emilia inspired, K-8 school focused on student inquiry and social-emotional development. Currently K-6, we will add 7th and 8th grades in the coming two years.


This summer we moved into the Dunbar Pavilion, site of the historic Dunbar School, at 325 W. 2nd Street. (See The Dunbar Project for more info on the Dunbar Coalition’s efforts to save and revitalize this historically and culturally significant site.) We occupy 6 gorgeous, light-filled classrooms in the newly renovated wing of the building and access the wonderful playground space, full basketball court, and community garden every day. We feel blessed to be in our new home, alongside such great community partners.


The IDEA School provides a child-centered education that nurtures competence, creativity, collaboration and compassion through work that is meaningful to students and promotes lifelong learning.

Through real-world problem solving and teamwork, IDEA School students grow to take charge of their learning, and therefore their lives — both in and out of school.

“We like the idea of happiness and engagement being emphasized as measures of success…
the IDEA School’s philosophy fits with the educational experience we envision for our daughter.”
– Cecelia and Daniel, parents of 4th grader

Questions? Please email Nicolle Bornstein at



IMG_20170110_095532IMG_20160808_134429274WE BELIEVE: 01 at the pianoIMG_20170213_110524IMG_20170213_135241IMG_20170216_102705IMG_20170228_124103

  • Children of all ages are intrinsically motivated learners, capable of extraordinary insight, passion, and joy in their learning.
  • We have the opportunity to truly nurture our children’s intrinsic motivation to learn.  It is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.
  • Collaboration is central to learning, and children who feel a strong sense of community do better – in school and in life.
  • Authentic assessment allows us to truly measure what children know and can do, and partner with them to help them push their learning further.


We built the IDEA School on the basic premise that when children are engaged, amazing things happen. We want kids to still be as engaged by school when they’re in 8th Grade as they were when they were in Kindergarten, because school is still relevant to them and they see that their ideas have an audience, their work matters, and the sky’s the limit in terms of what they can learn and how they apply it.

Thank you for your interest in the IDEA School. We’re glad you’re here!

To apply, click here.


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We are proud to be a member of the Ashoka Changemaker Schools Network, 200+ innovative schools around the world who make empathy and changemaking — “empathy in action” — a core pillar of what we do.

Policy of Non-Discrimination

The IDEA School strongly values diversity in our student body, staff, and Board of Directors. 

The IDEA School admits students of any race, color, national original, ethnic origin, socio-economic status, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender identity, familial status and physical ability to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national original, ethnic origin, socio-economic status, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender identity, familial status or physical ability in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship/financial aid policies and programs, or athletic and other school-administered programs.

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