A “community school” starts by honoring the individual.
When PSCS was created in 1994 we were very mindful about what to name the school. We settled on “community school” because of the value we place on having both a strong internal community and connections to the greater community beyond.
We start with the individual at the center, but we also want students to understand their relationship to their peers, staff, volunteers, and parents involved in the school.
We've built neighborhood partnerships and collaborations through community service projects that are designed to help students appreciate that the world is bigger than they might think.
PSCS alum Lauren Head graduated with the PSCS Class of 2010, and then from Quest University in 2014. During their sophomore years, Quest students write a “Question Proposal,” which serves as their academic concentration and interdisciplinary major for the final two years of their undergraduate education.
Lauren’s question was, “What is the role of empathy in community?”
In her Question Proposal, she wrote, “I spent my senior year of high school investigating my values, empathy and community. All that I learned during that time shaped my perspective at Quest. I learned that the role empathy plays to help individuals cultivate respect for others is a key component to the creation of community. I learned how dialogue facilitates collaboration and abates violent confrontation. I learned that respect and integrity allow communities to thrive.”
In her self-created academic plan, Lauren divided her Question into four sub-questions: 1) What are the limits of empathy? 2) How does the social and physical construct of our environment allow for community? 3) What shapes identity? 4) Should we embrace the other?
The academic plan included an inquiry into Hegel’s Phenomenology, Media and Politics, and Macroeconomics, among a wide range of academic disciplines.
Lauren recently earned her Master’s Degree in Gender, Peace, and Security from the London School of Economics. She now lives in Washington D.C. and works at the National Democratic Institute.
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Lauren wrote a message to the teaching staff while still at Quest:
Dear PSCS Staff and Faculty,
I know that each of you will recognize that the roots of my Proposal are grounded in the values I developed through [PSCS’s] Senior Seminar. . . . Thank you for all the personal and intellectual skills and support you lovingly gave me at PSCS. My PSCS education, which was very much a life education, has been invaluable since the day I graduated.Read More