Let’s time travel back to your third grade classroom, the comfort of having a single teacher everyday, the little family you had with the kids in your class. If you had the chance to go back, drop AP’s, drop your schedule, would you? Quest gives you the chance to do that. Some of Quest’s own explain what the last couple of weeks have been like and how they are dealing with this new “messy” learning style.
If you still don’t completely understand what Quest is, the school’s website defines it as “Quest provides structure and time to support your efforts in pursuing your curiosity and passion. Instead of taking traditional courses, you will tackle interdisciplinary projects personalized to your interests. We like to say that we are tight on skills, flexible on content. The program is designed to develop skills and connections to the real world through different experiences.” It’s an interesting way for Seniors to go back to their roots of elementary school but still have the curriculum and challenge of their 12th grade year.
Senior, Lena Fuller explains Quest saying “Quest is a new program at SAS that revolves around project based learning. There are only 21 students and we stay in the same classroom all day, so it’s a much closer community of students. Rather than having separate core classes we work on projects that each incorporate some math, science, and English. We are also graded on things like cultural awareness, group collaboration and presentation skills. The idea is to have individualized learning so you work on something that actually interests you.”
Imagine having the chance to go on four Interims a year. The Quest kids began the school year two weeks earlier in Canada hiking, camping and getting to know one another. From what I heard from the Quest students, it was one of the best school trips they’ve ever been on and it enabled them to become close, quickly. Seniors Andrew Edds and Jong Cha began the trip only knowing of one another and ended the trip being as close friends.
Andrew Edds added to the social implications of the program by saying “I think Jong and I’s friendship stemmed from being uncomfortable, camping, hiking and being out of our comfort zones. We used our humor to overcome awkward situations and all those weird times made me closer to not only him but the whole group.”
One question I was curious about was so far into Quest was it what they were were expecting? Did it exceed expectations or was it something totally different?
One of the Quest Teachers Ms. Walthall comments on this saying, “It has been better than I expected, but also more difficult. The community feel of Quest has been amazing, and seeing what the students are capable of is also inspiring.” She continued by discussing some of the hard ships so far conveying “I personally have struggled with the messy education aspect more than I thought I would. Not having a standard schedule, alone time, and not knowing the answer to all the questions have been harder than I thought.”
So far, the first class of participants are only a few months into Quest and already are having a great time. Over the year we’ll see how they tackle the troubles of having a new project based class and how the students strive in this environment.
When asked Ms. Walthall to identify her favorite memory from the roll-out of the program so far, Ms. Walthall appeared stumped “I want to say something about the exhilaration of seeing snow on the mountain, or watching the kids present at Back-to-School night, but I think it’s simply where I’m sitting now watching each of the students pursue something of interest in their freetime. It’s the little things.”