Puget Sound Community School

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alumni profile

Lauren Head

PSCS alum Lauren Head graduated with the PSCS Class of 2010 and from Quest University in 2014. During their sophomore years, all 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?”

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Graduation Requirements

Students work each year with an advisor to identify their short- and long-term goals.

Graduation DayPSCS graduates demonstrate high levels of self-expression, intrinsic motivation, and commitment to the community. A student’s senior year at PSCS is the crowning development and expression of these characteristics and is uniquely structured to showcase them. To graduate from PSCS, students must first be approved by the staff to be seniors. To be considered, students will need to be at least 16 years old and have been enrolled at PSCS for at least three full school years at the time of their graduation.

The Junior Letter: In the year prior to intending to graduate from PSCS, qualifying students must get staff approval to enter the senior year. This approval process begins with the “Junior Letter.” Due in January, the “Junior Letter” is each student’s written case outlining why they think they are ready for the rigors of the senior year. These letters, and each student’s history at the school, are carefully reviewed by staff for final approval or denial. Approved students attend a mandatory “Junior Seminar” during spring term to further orient and prepare them for the senior year process. Students denied the privilege of becoming seniors will likely have the option to remain at PSCS and request approval again the following January.

The Senior Year: During their senior year, a graduating student must:

  • Meet the principles of the school’s presence requirement
  • Conceive of and complete a year-long senior project
  • Present their “credo” to the community
  • Participate in the year-long Senior Seminar

Simple fulfillment of these conditions is not by itself sufficient to graduate from PSCS. In addition, each graduating student is expected to promote and uphold the values of the school through a distinctly elevated and mature enactment of the core commitments (see Progress, above). At the start of the school year, each senior is presented a Senior Handbook that presents all of these requirements in more detail. This handbook is available to any community member who wishes to better understand the senior process.

Transcripts: PSCS documents the activities in which our students are involved and creates a narrative transcript based on this. Classes in which students are present for at least 70% of the sessions are recorded on the transcript. Some independent study projects are also recorded, as are activities that students complete on their own that can be appropriately documented. Additionally, advisors provide narrative reports that are included on transcripts, and high school students write self-evaluations each year that are also included.

A Note About Academics: It’s important to recognize that PSCS does not have academic requirements, but that is not to say that students aren’t provided the opportunity to engage in academic rigor. Our educational philosophy is such that students are ultimately in charge of deciding how, when, and if they want to pursue topics deemed mandatory in most schools. As a result, it is conceptually possible that these topics will not appear on our schedule, nor on a student’s transcript.