Olney Friends School is a coeducational, boarding and day, progressive Quaker college preparatory high school for 40-50 students in grades 9-12 in rural southeastern Ohio, in the foothills of the Appalachians with a curriculum that incorporates the natural resources of Appalachia.
Olney Friends School challenges students to grow. We celebrate intellectual vigor, provoke questions of conscience, and nurture skills for living in community.
Like Quakers unprogrammed Meeting for Worship, the classroom is a Meeting for Learning - a space and time to seek together. Everyone in the classroom has the ability, indeed the responsibility, to share their truth, as we create an understanding larger than ourselves.
The spirit of the classroom is embodied in the physical arrangement of one large table where we all sit as equals and everyones voice is respected. Harkness, the student-centered discussion method used by the Humanities Department, allows students to speak as they are moved to rather than give the right answers in response to the authority of the teacher. Students learn to take responsibility for class discussion by asking questions of each other, encouraging peers to speak, and referring to the text. They regularly observe each other, track the discussion, and then consider how they can improve. When there is a foundation of trust, tension in the text at hand, and commitment from every student, the classroom can capture the whole world.