Realms of Inquiry was founded in 1972 as a special-purpose school for gifted, talented and creative individuals. As the school developed it became apparent to the founders that a large population of highly intelligent but unchallenged and sometimes unmotivated children was in need of a specialized educational program. Realms has grown over the years to meet the needs of this population without losing sight of its original commitment to students who are both independent-thinking and motivated.

From early on Realms has leaned toward the experiential education model. Experiential learning complements Realms' philosophy and is helping us to make our classroom teaching more hands on and interdisciplinary, increase student ownership in the educational process, create more opportunities for students to be involved in the greater community, connect classroom and outdoor learning, and increase the quality of student work.

Realms of Inquiry is an independent school and has been accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission since 1982.

Realms of Inquiry, a cooperative learning community that offers an accredited curriculum for grades 7 through 12, is dedicated to providing a supportive learning environment for bright and intellectually creative students. Working closely with faculty, each student designs a program tailored to his or her particular interests and learning style.

Realms students learn to welcome challenges and take risks. They gain knowledge, skills, and confidence through experience in the classroom, the community, the outdoors, and international travel. Realms graduates become life-long learners, leaders, and innovators.

Realms of Inquiry was founded as a special purpose school for gifted, talented and creative individuals at a time when public education was unaware of its failure to reach those with the greatest potential. Although much has changed, Realms has a unique 3-pronged approach that has been fine-tuned over four decades to challenge, engage and motivate students from all walks of life.


Our purpose is to provide a challenging, individualized, real-world education for students who may have nontraditional learning styles, who want to learn at their own rate, and develop their natural individual talents and interests.

Hands-on, project-based learning is emphasized, using a successful academic model known as experiential learning. Domestic and international travel experiences are integrated with a strong academic foundation to stimulate learning and engagement.

Discussion is central to all academic work, stimulating independent thinking at a high cognitive level for bright students.

Realms takes class sizes very seriously. Over the past two decades, the effect of class size on academic performance has been studied extensively. Two conclusions have come out of the studies done:

  • Reduced class size can be expected to produce increased academic achievement
  • The major benefits from reduced class size are obtained as the size is reduced below 20 pupils.

As an independent, cooperative school, Realms aims to have 14 or fewer students per class. Many of our classes are kept significantly lower.  We do this so that our students have the benefit of individualized attention and curriculum.

Parents, particularly in Utah, are becoming increasingly aware of the size of their student’s classes, and are looking for options. Realms provides the best option in the Salt Lake City valley for parents of bright children who need individualized  study and smaller classes.

Realms builds mentoring relationships among students, teachers, and the community.  Many positive benefits come from these relationships – benefits that continue throughout the student’s lifetime.

Research backs up the critical role that mentoring can play in a student’s life. A 2002 Child Trends report titled Mentoring Programs and Youth Development: A Synthesis summarizes the benefits of mentoring relationships:

  • Positive academic outcomes

  • Prevention of youth risk behaviors

  • Enhanced social and mental development

Children of all ages rely on relationships built at school to reach educational goals. Mentors can play many roles, including friend, adviser, tutor, and conscience.

Realms takes mentoring very seriously. Not only do we purposefully keep our student-to-teacher ratios small to encourage the mentoring process, Realms also reaches out to the community at large to find successful entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, and academics – to name a few – who can provide mentoring to our students.

If you or someone you know who would be particularly good at mentoring bright and gifted students, we encourage you to contact Realms to discuss mentoring opportunities.

At Realms we believe that the arts should be integrated into all aspects of learning, even as artistic expression can take many forms in the real world. The strong emphasis on individuality and creativity at Realms provides for extensive artistic opportunities. Though many students come to us already well-versed in music, visual arts, and theater, finding other like-minded kids will often jump-start unexpected creative collaborations. This can take the form of shared exploration in mini-courses, teaching other classmates, or structured whole-school projects such as musical or theatrical performances. Students are encouraged to bring art into learning plans in meaningful ways, integrating the creation of art with their interests. In addition, our yearly international forays provide unmatched opportunities to experience  the world’s art forms. Students study and then immerse themselves in the cultures of our host countries as they travel.

Other cultural opportunities at Realms might include field trips to community performances and museums, support for learning foreign languages, cooking and tasting exotic cuisines, and sharing the ethnically diverse traditions within our own community.