- Summer Term
- Apprentice Program
- High Peaks Adventure
- Adult Programs
- Educators Expedition
- Lake County Backpacking Trip
The High Mountain Institute offers an honors and AP-level curriculum to prepare students to thrive during their senior year and in college. We design our courses to match the content and rigor of our sending schools to facilitate smooth transitions for our graduates. HMI is accredited by the Association of Colorado Independent Schools, an affiliate of the National Association of Independent Schools.
HMI is full of an intellectual vibrancy that strikes all visitors to campus. Students huddle with teachers at lunch to complete their discussion about Thomas Jefferson’s America. Laughter fills the Barnes Building as students read (in Spanish) the manifestos Whitney has assigned. In the Hope Library, four students work to finish the field study they began on a recent expedition when they observed the behavior of a group of elk passing by their camp.
We improve student performance with small class size (an average of ten students) and focus on discussion, analysis, and hands-on learning. Our environment rewards hard work and cherishes academic achievement, helping further our goal of creating active and life-long learners.
- Students take 5-6 courses at HMI; they also can earn an ungraded ½ credit for physical education. Many students also participate in community service, particularly during the Fall Semester.
- Options exist for students to participate in an independent study during their semester in order to keep up with a course at their sending school not offered at HMI. Student must receive permission from both their sending school and HMI in order to participate in an independent study, prior to the start of their semester.
HMI Semester Courses
Explore the courses listed below for a brief synopsis of coursework and content, or click here to view our complete Curriculum Guide.
Literature of the Natural World (Honors)
Could the story of Little Red Riding Hood have contributed to the campaign to eradicate wolves in the United States during the 20th century? The Literature of the Natural World course asks such questions as students examine the relationship between contemporary Western literature and American treatment of wilderness. Texts by Western nature writers such as Norman MacLean, Sherman Alexie, Mary Austin, and Annie Proulx complement the consideration of the relationship that contemporary writers must make to the Western landscape and its many myths. SAT-level vocabulary work, analytical skills, and grammar exercises are featured throughout the course.
Natural Science (Honors)
Natural Science blends local natural history content with larger themes of environmental science. Grounding in basic ecologic principles, ecosystem dynamics, and cyclic processes serve as a basis for examination of geology, glaciology, stream morphology, and climate. Field-based labs, expedition research projects, and hands-on learning help foster skills with which the class can examine, discuss, and attempt to solve contemporary environmental issues. The course concludes with a study of sustainable practices, during which students use course material to make sense of new technology and policies to reduce overall global impact.
United States History: Western Perspectives (Honors)
The United States History class follows a traditional United States history curriculum in the fall semester, beginning the term with colonization and ending with Reconstruction. All major themes and events during this time period are covered in detail. The spring semester studies modern American history through the lens of the American West. Students examine the post-Civil War frontier, the Populist Revolt, the Great Depression, New Deal, World War II, Cold War, counterculture, and Reagan conservatism from a Western perspective. Writing skills are emphasized throughout the course with particular attention paid to analysis and historical argument.
Advanced Placement United States History
The AP United States History course is designed to prepare students to complete the AP US History exam successfully in May. Students read numerous original documents and utilize a standard textbook. Regular practice with DBQs (Document Based Questions) and analytical writing complement a chronological progression from the colonial era to the modern day. Reconstruction serves as the end of the fall semester and beginning of the spring term.
Mathematics (Advanced Algebra II, Honors Precalculus, Advanced Placement Calculus)
During any given semester, up to eight sections of mathematics are offered to accommodate the sequential nature of mathematics in high school. A trigonometry course is offered within both Algebra II and Precalculus. Algebra IIstudents focus on developing proficiency with mathematical skills and exploring applications of both linear and non-linear functions, integrating their studies from algebra and geometry. Precalculus students explore concepts prerequisite to calculus from the analysis of functions through limits of functions. Advanced Placement Calculus is a challenging course consisting of work that is comparable to college-level courses. Students entering this course are expected to have a strong mathematical background and to have mastered appropriate trigonometry and precalculus material.
Spanish (Intermediate or Advanced, Honors)
The Intermediate and Advanced Spanish courses are skills and culture-based courses that serve as the equivalents to Spanish 3, 4, or AP level classes. The Advanced class, taught entirely in Spanish, includes a comprehensive review of Spanish grammar and stylistics, lexical issues, and Chicano/Mexican-American culture. Note, this is not an AP preparation course. Intermediate Spanish students study major verb tenses and Spanish-language stylistics and examine major issues in cultural fusion in contemporary America. In both classes, specific topics vary from semester to semester depending on the level of each student group and the topics that need to be covered in order to reintegrate successfully into home school language courses.