Our School

Picture of Garlough students at Dodge Nature CenterPart of the West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan Area school district, Garlough Environmental Magnet School (GEMS) offers a rigorous environmental studies curriculum emphasizing science, technology and math for students in grades K-4.


  • Extensive use of Dodge Nature Center’s 320 acres, which provide incredible outdoor classrooms — right across the street!
  • Journey North®, an online project that enables students to share their own field observations with other students across North America
  • Hallways and classrooms that are full of animals, plants and other natural wonders
  • Active, hands-on learning — counting and sorting leaves, measuring rainfall, restoring prairie grasslands
  • A school campus that includes 20 Outdoor Wonder Learning Stations (OWLS), a music wall, an amphitheater, forest area, Bird Central, chimney swift towers, an Edible Math Maze, a peace garden and more for true experiential learning
  • Questions posted throughout the building to foster a sense of wonder in students
  • Group projects and collaborative learning experiences
  • Attention to individual student learning needs
  • Academically rigorous classes that meet state standards
  • Caring, highly-qualified teachers
  • Up-to-date technology throughout the building allows for frequent student use of iPods, iPads, Macbooks, digital cameras, SMART Boards, Vernier’s Probeware, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), USB ProScopes and more
  • The GEMS Trading Post — a school-wide enrichment program in which students may exchange their knowledge, research and natural artifacts for points to trade for other natural artifacts


Magnet schools are free public schools that are organized around specialized themes. These themes are chosen and designed to appeal to students’ interests and aptitudes, and often attract students from a larger attendance area.

Learn more about Garlough's environmental magnet theme.


  • U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School - 2012
  • USDA Healthier US School Challenge Silver Award - 2011
  • National Magnet School of Excellence - 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015
  • National Magnet School of Distinction - 2016, 2018
  • Minnesota Magnet School of Merit - 2011
  • Energy Star School - 2009 to present
  • Minnesota School Forest - 2014
  • Minnesota Department of Education Celebration School - 2014

Learn about Garlough's 
School Initiatives and Community Partners.

Learn more about Enrolling in School District 197.

Download a fact sheet (English/Español) for more information about Garlough.