Meet those leading our student leaders
Meet MarinSEL's Teachers! Jesse Madsen, MarinSEL Lead Teacher/Seminar/World Geography, 9th & 11th Grade Teagen Leonhart, MarinSEL English, 10th Grade Sara Frack, MarinSEL…
A progressive school focused on leadership and the environment
The Marin School of Environmental Leadership (MarinSEL) is comprised of students, parents and educators from Marin County and beyond who…
What's it like to be a MarinSEL student?
During the first month of every school year, MarinSEL students and teachers participate in a long weekend Leadership Retreat designed…
Project-based environmental learning
MarinSEL’s curriculum combines themes of environmental stewardship, global awareness, community service, innovative thinking, and group projects to create a uniquely…
Message from the Executive Director: Beyond Grades
Going Beyond Grades
For most students, success in school is defined by the five letter grades, ‘A’ through ‘F’. These standardized measurements aim to define varying levels of student achievement, yet they are woefully limiting. Letter grades automatically rank students and drive them to focus on the product rather than the process, where learning occurs. They can also de-motivate students and increase their anxiety. Even more, grades can be an inaccurate measure that does not represent student learning.
In MarinSEL we emphasize the process and development of student learning. And for MarinSEL students, success means exceeding their own expectations. Rather than just completing an assignment for a letter grade, turning it in and being done with it, students are encouraged to explore and implement additional strategies that add value to their work and learning.
We recognize that the problems, issues and tasks our students will continue to address in school and in the working world are endless and varied. Life beyond school, no matter where it takes us, is not about getting grades, or checking off boxes on standardized tests. It requires that we apply the important skills of critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration to dynamic problems and solutions. And the desire to make positive changes and contributions in the world entails that we go above and beyond the norm. A life well-lived is about being satisfied with the process and the product, and having fun at the same time.
Executive Director, School of Environmental Leadership
Round 1 Priority Applications - Due January 15th
The first deadline for applications to the 2014-2015 school year is January 15th! Applicants in this first round will be considered first for admission into the MarinSEL class of 2018. We are looking foward to reviewing applications and meeting our next MarinSEL class. Please visit the admissions page to access the applicaiton online or download a pdf that can be submitted via mail, email or fax. Questions? Email us at
Final LEAD Project Presentations
MarinSEL freshmen and sophomores wrapped up their fall LEAD Projects on December 12th and 13th by sharing two presentations. The first "informative" presentation provided the audience with an overview of each project and a sense of the measurable results achieved by our fantastic students. In their second "reflective" presentation, students shared their individual and group learning experience in a creative way. Our students' ability to share their work in a professional and reflective manner was truly inspirational.
We would like to give a huge thanks to our fall community partners and parent volunteers who helped guide our students on their LEAD projects this fall.
Too see more pictures from the presentations, please visit our Facebook page. To view some of the reflective presentations, check out the SEI Youtube page.
MarinSEL in the Marin IJ!
Check out this article in the Marin IJ about our MarinSEL juniors and the work they are doing in their engineering course! Thanks to our amazing students and Allison Oropallo, their teacher, for doing such inspiring work. We went to watch the students test their wind turbine designs and it was incredible to see their innovative design work.
Message from the Executive Director: Measuring Success
In traditional high schools, student success is defined via grades, attendance, and test scores. While these measures can be important, at MarinSEL we are redefining how we measure success to incorporate assessments that prepare students more holistically for the challenges of the 21st century.
Our measurements occur in several ways: The first is a grade-based requirement that they maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the school year. The second looks through the lens of what is called the 4Cs rubric (Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication) at leadership skills students exhibit in their work and group projects. Students set goals in each area during individual meetings with their teacher, then use this rubric to assess themselves and each other, and are also assessed by a teacher.