Students enrolled 490
School leader David Dockendorf
Transportation options Yes
District Seattle Public Schools

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5012 SW Genesee St
Seattle, WA 98106

(206) 252-9710
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Map of Pathfinder K-8 address.

4 stars
Based on 30 ratings

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think about this school

October 13, 2014
I do not recommend this school for kids that are dyslexic or have other language related challenges. In our experience, we found the teachers to have low to zero awareness of dyslexia and therefore did not have the skills needed to teach dyslexic children. During our time there, the principal was not at all interested in building this muscle at Pathfinder K-8. With 1 in 5 kids on the dyslexic spectrum, I found this shocking. We left the school and found a place where our son learned to successfully read and write and his confidence skyrocketed.

- submitted by a parent
February 19, 2014
My son, who is not neurotypical, attended Kindergarten through second here. Our experiences were horrid. I hear the school has changed and that may well be true. My son was fairly traumatized. One of his teachers practically called him stupid to his face and another didn't believe him when he said he was being bullied and the special education department was a disappointment. Very sad for us, but we've since gone on to home-school and then to a very positive experience in another school. Parents were very much busy volunteering, but mostly coddling their own children, rather than helping the entire class.

- submitted by a parent
October 20, 2013
We've been at the school for eight years. Both of my children attend. I have had mostly great experiences here. No school is perfect but the teachers here have gone above and beyond in their teaching.

- submitted by a parent
June 04, 2013
My son is just finishing up K this year. I wasn't sure what to expect but I have been pleasantly surprised. The teacher he has is wonderful and all the others I've met seem just as caring and committed. The schools leadership are engaged and want feedback. There were a few minor things I brought to the vice principal's attention and she was very professional and concerned and is working towards a solution. My son never liked school but likes Pathfinder. The parent involvement is amazing in his class (can't speak for rest although I've heard just as good). Our attendance school is Alki but I chose Pathfinder over it because of the amazing teachers and expeditions. I would recommend to anyone. I have also used Blazing Trails and it is very convenient to have on-site. Only negative is large class size but I know that is a SPS issue. Not happy with that one. I'm hoping that we continue to be as happy at this school.

- submitted by a parent
January 29, 2013
Our son started kindergarten this year and we have been consistently impressed so far. The staff is wonderful, the parents are involved, and as a result, the children are very respectful and caring. I have walked through the school with my 6 year old and kids from K-6th grade all know his name and say "hi". As a parent of a kindergartener, one of my concerns was bullying but after seeing how great all of the kids are to each other I no longer have that worry. The before and after school program at Blazing Trails is an absolute god-send. I feel so fortunate to be able to be a part of this great program.

- submitted by a parent
July 27, 2012
My child attended Pathfinder and I have to say I was not impressed. The parents were nice enough but the leadership gave me a bad impression. Glad to move my child out of the school.

- submitted by a parent
January 29, 2012
We have our first kid in kindergarten here this year. We are having a great year and really love this school. Our son is excited to go and on Friday he was so excited about his project that he told me that it was going to be the best day ever. K and 1st grade had just finished in a learning expedition about markets around the world. They did several field trips to actually see real live examples that culminated in a kids craft market at school. All of the kindergarteners and 1st graders made projects that they got to trade with other kids. It was great and the kids and parents all enjoyed it. I love how they teach ideas, concepts and our teacher. She is great with the kids. We feel really lucky to get to be a part of this great community.

- submitted by a parent
April 16, 2010
I have had three children go through Pathfinder (one through grade 8). The teachers, staff, parents, and children are a loyal and loving crew with very solid academics in an expeditionary learning environment. Consistently great experiences for all of my children.

- submitted by a parent
March 30, 2010
I'm a student in middle school at Pathfinder, and I enjoy it. I am learning a lot, but learning is interesting at Pathfinder. The teachers apply the things we are learning to everyday situations that we go through, so it never seems irrelevant. The teachers really care about us, and want us to succeed. If work is too hard or too easy for us, they will take their personal time to help us, and make sure we are doing the most we can. I feel like I will be prepared for the future because of Pathfinder, both academically and mentally. I couldn't imagine being at any other school.

- submitted by a student
January 29, 2010
If people would ignore standardized test scores and go with their hearts, this school would have an endless wait list. I have never seen a group of such happy children who love to learn and staff who love to teach and not just to the test. Great onsite childcare too.

- submitted by a parent
November 01, 2009
Absolutely wonderful school! I have yet to come across a member of staff who is anything less than fully dedicated and passionate about education and the success of each child. The students are so proud of their school (rightfully so!) and excited about going every day. My daughter comes home and can't wait to discover more about what she has learned at school, using the internet or going to the library for more resources. The classwork and homework is relevant and provides a real link between home and school, we find it easy to know what our daughter is learning and how she is being taught so we can reinforce it at home. Not only is there a great variety of after school programs but there is also a world travel program where students learn about countries like China and Guatemala and then get to visit them. Beautiful facility too!

- submitted by a parent
September 19, 2009
My grandson loves his school and teacher and is getting a catapulted start on his road to an educated and productive life as a good citizen of the planet!

- submitted by a community member
no rating September 16, 2009
I love the community and family spirit of Pathfinder. Expeditionary learning is excellent at teaching kids real skills, not just how to pass a standardized test! My son went on a dozen field trips in kindergarten, each one of them memorable.

- submitted by a parent
March 31, 2009
We now have a 'big kid' in upper grades (middle school) in our fifth year at Pathfinder and we are happy to have stayed. So it would seem the upper grades has an image problem more than real problems. My student is not a low acheiver and has not lost performance due to teachers teaching to the lowest common denominator. In fact, my student has found that helping other students is a great way to learn. Parents who are concerned about lower acheiving students in full integration setting should put their student in a more traditional school. The only thing we seem to be missing is more student activities for the big kids.

- submitted by a parent
March 28, 2009
We have a K student there this year. Pathfinder was actually our 4th choice for schools. We were afraid of the future because of the poor facility, so we really never considered it seriously. We are very happy we didn't get into our first three choices. We really love the teachers we have met, the community is very engaged, the principal and staff are very passionate about the school, and the kids seem to have a great time learning with the expedition model. With Pathfinder moving to a new facility in 2009, I wouldn't hesitate to give it high recommendations. We are very excited about the new opportunities.

- submitted by a parent
March 27, 2009
students thrive in this unique community. they are able to be individuals with out ostrification. educational leaders in the school seem to inspire and teach to the idividual strenghths of the children while making sure that they are growing a fab. foundation for further education. the parent community is extrenely involved. some people are able to log countless hours and others are here and there- all seems to flow so well. there is family support in all areas. next year we are movng to a new building that will help our community to grow even more. I would reccomend this school to anyone looking to have their child(ren) in a safe, caring, supportive and strong environment.

- submitted by a parent
March 27, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
March 27, 2009
I am the parent of two children that attend Pathfinder. We landed at Pathfinder after a difficult start at a more traditional school. My older son was diagnosed with ADHD and needs to learn in a way that is very engaging and allows for some differences from the traditional 'sit at a desk' lecture style. He is thriving there. The teachers have an ability to teach in a very individualized way while not compromising expectations. There is a sense that the children learn from being with many different types of learners and that each child brings value to the classroom because they are different. My younger son has a much easier time in school and can learn easily with more traditional methods. While he would likely learn as well in a more traditional setting, his excitement and interest in learning through a expeditionary method is palpable. A wonderful school.

- submitted by a parent
March 26, 2009
We moved to Seattle so our child could attend Pathfinder. That was three years ago and it was one of our best decisions. My child has medical and learning difficulties and the staff at Pathfinder have gone out of their way to her needs. She is thriving there. We love the casual, community, of the school. Parents are very included and always welcome. I can go sit in my child's class anytime I want. Learning has been fun. It is a unique school, with it's own history and culture. Our new building next year will only enhance the school. I recommend this school to anyone. The staff is extremely dedicated and really go above and beyond. Children are respected, instead of over controlled. A child's social emotional development is valued.

- submitted by a parent
February 12, 2009
We have two children at Pathfinder, one in 5th and one in 3rd. Both have very different learning styles. One is a self- directed student, the other needs a cattle prod to get started. Both are thriving both intellectually and socially at this school and I credit this to the dedicated staff and creative learning environment at Pathfinder. Our son's reading and writing has increased a whole grade just since September with the support he has received from his classroom teacher and the resource room tutors. As a parent volunteer I feel I am part unique and caring community that respects and welcomes differences. The teachers are motivated, and the approach to learing core subjects is integrated into expeditionary learning in a thoughtful and creative way. We look forward to our kids continuing on through Middle school at Pathfinder and thriving if its safe, supportive environment. Submitted by Lynette Martin

- submitted by a parent
February 12, 2009
We chose Pathfinder for the Expeditionary Learning Curriculum. But, the culture of Pathfinder is what really drew us there. It's a casual atmosphere, with a real sense of community. The 'alternative' aspect had an appeal as well. On the other hand, we were not aware that Pathfinder is somewhat of a dumping ground for children with behavioral problems. This isn't exactly something they advertise when you're touring. These kids are mixed in with the general population. There are several in a classroom. This is a constant distraction. Especially in an environment where children are expected to make choices for themselves, and a certain amount of freedom is afforded. These kids take up the majority of the teacher's time. If your child does Ok or better, they don't get much individual time or attention from the teacher. For one on one time, and to maintain order, you absolutely have to volunteer.

- submitted by a parent
no rating November 29, 2008
The school is great not only because of the dedicated teachers but beause of the community the parents create. We have choosen Pathfinder for expediationary learning and the teachers focus on the whole child not just the academic child.

- submitted by a parent
November 28, 2008
I am very satisfied with Pathfinder School. The principal is Awesome! He performs great leadership skills and stays involved with the children. The 8th grader teacher Ami goes above and beyond her call of duty! My daughter has special needs and Ami has taught her so much and is so patience with her. This school and there teachers care about your child and wants what is best for them. Thanks so much Michele O

- submitted by a parent
September 10, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
no rating June 20, 2008
great teachers,way better then other schools and great learning! but over all its the best school in the world!

- submitted by a student
April 30, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
March 25, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
September 12, 2006
A terrific school! wonderful people and especially teachers.

- submitted by a parent
October 29, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
June 17, 2005
Committed teaching staff, expeditionary learning, high parent involvement. Classes are mostly split grades ( k and first, first second, etc) My daughter attended from kindergarten through eighth grade and had only 2 core teachers until she had completed 6th grade. This allowed excellent continuity as well as providing a comfortable learning environment. I would highly recommend this school to any parent seeking a non-traditional learning experience. If you believe students should be quiet and sit at desks that are neatly lined up then you might want to consider a more traditional school. If you are looking for a school that emphasizes community and independent thinking then Pathfinder might be just up your alley.

- submitted by a parent
April 29, 2005
Pathfinder is more that just a school, it is a community. The level of involvment of the community, and the parents in the school help, together with great teachers and staff, to create a greate environment for learning. The expeditionary learning is a wonderful way to focus the children's learning at this age. They take one focus, like trees, bread or maps and use that focus to learn about geography, other cultures, science and math. Even their reading and writing assignments are adapted to this focus. It really helps keep the kid's interest and excitement about learning.

- submitted by a parent
April 28, 2005
Let me start by saying how much my daughter loved this school. She is a bright, energetic child who can also be stubborn and lack motivation. Her teachers at Pathfinder were able to motivate her in a encourging and positive manner. I actually found this school to be far better than the private school my daughter had begun her education at and would recommend it to anyone with a child who is intelligent, but has problems thriving in a normal school environment. The students and teachers were friendly and welcoming and the school has a real sense of community. The academic programs were engaging and challenging. In this alternative school my daughter's learning style was respected and I feel this was the main reason she like going to this school. They had a strong policy on bullying and parent involvement was welcomed although it was not compulsary.

- submitted by a parent
March 17, 2005
This is an expeditionary learning school. It is great for kids who need might not do as well in traditional schools. The kids learn a lot by actually doing and this seems to help a lot. There is also an afterschool spanish program, unicycling club, and almost 100% parental involvement.

- submitted by a parent
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Pathfinder K-8
5012 SW Genesee St, Seattle, WA  98106
(206) 252-9710
Last modified Pathfinder K-8 is a Public school that serves grades K-8. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 7 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Pathfinder K-8 Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 33 reviews. Top