Ferndale School District established Windward High School in 2004 with a Bill and Melinda Gates Small School grant together with a Connecting Schools and Community grant. Windward was originally modeled on ideas from the the Small Schools Project, the Coalition of Essential Schools, and mentor school, High Tech High in San Diego. Since its inception, Windward has emphasized a personalized small-school structure, adult relationships, authentic learning in a real world context, community connections, service and project based learning, leadership, and technology as a tool to enhance student academic growth and achievement. In 2004, Windward was outfitted with 1:1 computer access for every student. Currently, every student enrolled at Windward High School is issued their own laptop to use.
After seven years operating as an independent high school under the umbrella of Ferndale High School, Windward High School, still operated and funded by the Ferndale School District, reopened its doors as an independent, accredited high school with its own diploma. Ferndale School District sustains Windward with strong support from the Ferndale School Board, District leadership and the Ferndale community.
Now students in Ferndale School District have the advantage of being able to choose between two outstanding high schools: Ferndale High School and Windward High School. We liken this choice to that between a large State university like the University of Washington and a small college like Whitman College – both are excellent choices, depending on your interests and personality. Qualified students in other school districts in Whatcom County also have the option to attend Windward through an application and interview process.