Announcing The Forest School's first "Overarching Question"!


We're thrilled to share that after great discussion, brainstorming, and feedback from learners, parents, and Guides, we have "landed the plane" on an overarching question for The Forest School's inaugural year.

The 2018-2019 overarching question will be...

Drum roll please...

What is culture and how is it created?


Context and significance:

Each year at The Forest School we will choose an overarching question to guide our curriculum planning and tie together various aspects of the day into one cohesive package. Throughout the year, Guides and learners return to this question over and over.

For example, here are some of the ways that another Acton Academy tied back to the question "What motivates a hero?" Each student wrote a own personal motivational motto to stick onto his or her desk. The topic of one Socratic discussion was, “What motivates you more: hearing a hero’s story, setting and reaching your own goals, being publicly recognized for your effort and work, or being able to track your progress with a system of points and rewards?” For a project, learners considered, “As an entrepreneur, are you more motivated to use your gifts and talents, make the greatest profit, or fill the greatest need?”

Examples of overarching questions other Acton Academies have used in previous years include:
* What does it mean to be human? Can a robot become a human or vice versa?
* Does power corrupt?
* Does the past determine the future?
* What motivates a hero?
* When does a Hero submit to authority?
* Must a Hero conquer fear to find true love?

In deciding our overarching question, we knew that some of our learners and parents/caregivers wanted to share ideas and feedback before the overarching question was finalized.

In the spirit of brainstorming (ie, there were no wrong answers), we loved hearing awesome suggestions from multiple community members.

In the end, we were inspired most by choosing a question that allowed us to leverage the unique opportunity of our school being founded alongside the opportunity of a new town—Pinewood Forest—being founded as well. Here's a quote from Joy Thigpen, one of our cofounders, that is emblematic of a theme we heard from many folks:

I really love the overarching question: ‘What is culture and how is it created?’ I feel excited about that question as someone who studied art and anthropology. My and many others’ current work revolves so intensely right now around creating an intentional culture.

With an overarching question connected to culture, our learners will have the chance to invite into the Studio, empathize with, and be transformed by many different experts who have convened at this time and at this place to build a new town in the world.

What an opportunity!


We're thrilled to announce that the following will be the overarching question for The Forest School's founding year...


Overarching question:

What is culture and how is it created?

Session questions:

  1. Who am I? Who are we as a school community?

  2. My neighborhood

  3. My city

  4. My state

  5. My country

  6. My world

  7. Who am I now?


If you have ideas for how we can make the most of the above questions, we welcome your feedback on our Facebook page.


banner image via

Tyler Thigpen