What if high school was designed to "fit" learners? Not the other way around.


If you don’t already know, we’re formally launching our high school next year—Fall 2019.

We admitted one high schooler this year to help us design the high school. In fact, he may be reaching out to you (current and prospective parents) to interview you! To get your take on what the ideal high school should entail.

A key component of our future high school is that learners can design their own high school experience. We want to design a high school so it “fits” our learners. Not the other way around. 

Today we had a fantastic conversation with our first high school learner about his future. Here are the questions we discussed: 

  • Can you rank these from 1 (most desirable) to 8 (least desirable)? 4 year college, 2 year college, military, start my own business, start nonprofit, GAP year, get an entry level job, get a beyond entry level job? 

  • If college is your goal, what kind of college? Can you name some colleges that interest you? What might you study and why? If a job, what job and why? If a business or nonprofit, what kind? If military, what branch and why? 

  • Of the majors / careers you mentioned, on a scale of 1 (unfamiliar) to 10 (very familiar), how familiar are you with what those jobs actually look and feel like?

  • Do you want to study a world language? Which? How good do you want want to get at that language by the time you graduate? 

  • Do you want to live abroad during high school? 

  • Are there any college visits you know you want to do this year?

  • What apprenticeships do you know now you want to do this year? 

  • To date, do you have a portfolio to document and showcase your work?

  • What might you want to study that is disconnected from your current interests?

  • Walking backwards from your long term goals, what might a solid 9th grade year look like?

  • Let’s ask ourselves these same questions 4 months from now. I wonder: What will your answers be?!

While the above list isn’t exhaustive, our plan is to ask every high schooler at The Forest School these kinds of questions. With their answers, we intend to design a high school experience that positions them to have the deepest learning and to make the strongest case for their desired next steps in life.

We look forward to sharing with you how this process evolves!

banner image via

Tyler Thigpen