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Attending SES

We Divide Into Four Houses to Create Small Community Connections

four houses 10 pods and 10 students per pod graphically represented


The academic house is both the physical and philosophical division of the school into smaller communities. The individual house model is used to deepen the understanding of new concepts and build tight-knit learning communities. Each of the four houses are made up of about one hundred students. Two houses are for juniors, two for seniors. We look forward to showing you around our houses.

Students studying site maps

Career and College Readiness

Our student experience includes authentic relevant projects, professional skills guidance, writing and analysis development and early environmental career exposure. We also boast the highest percentage of students enrolled in AP-level courses in our district. 

SES is known by colleges and professional networks for preparing students with collaborative work experience and professional skills beyond high school academic content.

“My experiences at SES have pushed me to be more and do more than I ever thought possible: landed me jobs, helped me network and make friends, helped me get into veterinary school, and showed me how to be a leader.”

Mati H, SES Alumni 2014, University of MN, Ross University, Vet Medicine

Students canoeing

Environmental Learning Campus

Situated on the grounds of the Minnesota Zoo and adjacent to Lebanon Hills Regional Park. Our campus is home to wooded trails overlooking Birch Pond with a variety of plant and animal species.

Our building is acknowledged by designers across the globe for its early adoption of large open spaces for flexible learning.

Student cubicles called Pods surround our main learning spaces and encourage collaborative learning and community-building in small groups.

"SES has been life changing for our daughter. She entered high school with optimism. She was an excellent student, a varsity athlete, and excited to get involved in all the right extracurricular activities. As time went on, it all felt meaningless, and she was bored with it all. She decided to try SES her junior year, and everything changed. She immediately was drawn in by caring, passionate teachers."

Katherine Hoff - Parent of SES Alumna

Students Collecting Pond data

Nature Based Study

According to research published in Frontiers in Psychology, 2019, nature experiences increase intrinsic motivation for learning. Student contact with nature has been shown to boost self-discipline and relieve stress.

While our classes often meet inside the building, SES strives to get students outdoors regularly through campus-based activities and field studies in both our community and around the globe.

"Hands-on activities and work in the field give you a deeper understanding of the environment and builds your confidence for real-world challenges."

Maddie W, SES 2018, U of M, Twin Cities

Students on a bicycling adventure

Sustainability Systems

In 2019, we achieved the world's first student-led LEED gold certification, the international standard for design, construction and maintenance of environmentally sustainable buildings and infrastructure.

Our students, staff and partners strive to increase sustainable practices in the communities we serve that range from lunch food sorting to creating awareness campaigns.


“I am still impressed with the multidisciplinary approach to lessons, revealing how the natural world doesn't exist in a vacuum but in a complex series of ecosystems that are full of macro and micro interrelationships."

Dan V, PharmD, SES 1997, St Olaf

Students at the model UN in New York

Local to Global Perspectives

Providing real world opportunities for students to enhance their development and understanding as global citizens and active community members.

Our school is the only US high school with observer status with the United Nations, allowing groups of students to be official observers at UN Conferences in New York and abroad. At home, all SES students research cultures and environments across the globe and present at SES-hosted Global Summits and our annual Population Conference.

Our students work directly on local community projects to gain exposure and understanding of local issues and careers in environmental fields. Examples of past projects include evaluating nearby pond quality for the City of Eagan and tracking biodiversity for Lebanon Hills Regional Park.

“The staff at SES taught me more about kindness and how to lead a purposeful life than any other teachers I've had the experience of meeting." 

Annie W, SES 2018

Students cooking outdoors at Baker overnight

Strong Relationships

Large block scheduling for longer class times and a smaller population are just some of the reasons that relationships run strong here at SES.

Each trimester, students participate in Intensive Theme classes, which are seven day short courses, similar to college J-Terms. Here, students focus on a single topic they are passionate about or travel on a Field Study with students from other classes and a new instructor. This encourages students to meet others across the building, and potentially form relationships with their teachers for the next year. 

“If you're looking for a smaller community filled with friendly, passionate people, then SES is perfect for you.”

Maddie W, SES 2018, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

How to Apply

SES is now accepting applications from current sophomores and juniors for the upcoming academic year!

Though the priority window closes in December each year, we are still accepting applications. Once our enrollment cap is met, interested students will be placed on our waiting list and will be notified when openings become available. 

December Information and Events

Need more information before you apply?
Wanting to yet attend for this current school year?
Call Michelle Oberg @ 952-431-8752