If you could spend your time at school working on something you are curious or passionate about, what would you work on?
Quest is an innovative year-long program that gives a small group of seniors the time and flexibility to pursue their interests and passions through projects. The program starts with a two-week Interim Semester trip to Mongolia, but the students are back in time for the start of the school year. Quest allows seniors to take one regular SAS academic course, but otherwise they earn six credits through an interdisciplinary curriculum focused on developing creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking through engaging, real-life experiences. Throughout the year students build networks with corporate partners and spend time off campus to pursue unit projects and their own senior project, which is a combination of the Catalyst project curriculum and academic research. The students and advisors in Quest create a community of learners who support and challenge each other to be prepared for the future.
- How to Apply
- Year Overview
- Daily Schedule
- Grading and Credit
- College Implications
- Contact Information
The Quest program is looking for 30 diverse and dynamic students who are excited about a personalized education. Quest would like to have a diversity of personal interests such as music, arts, computer programming, science, social justice, filmmaking, along with a myriad of other interests. If you want to do something new with your education or you want to have the time to identify, develop or pursue your interests, this program would be a great fit for you.
FOR ENTRY INTO THE QUEST PROGRAM:
- You must be starting senior year
- You must be on track to graduate
- You must complete the application
- You must have a desire to take control of your own learning
SELECTION OF STUDENTS INTO QUEST:
Quest encourages applications from a wide range of learners; from students who are enrolled in multiple AP courses to students who are accessing learning support. The applications will be reviewed for demographic data and other factors to represent a natural distribution of the SAS population, the first 25 students will be selected via a lottery system. The remaining five will be hand selected to create a heterogenous group by a group of teachers and administrators.
The application will be available on Wednesday, February 8 via this website or you may receive a paper copy from one of the Quest advisors. Once you have completed the application you will be required to submit the application to the high school office, once all signatures have been collected by Thursday, March 2 at 3:00 p.m.
|February 8 from 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.||Drama Theater||Entire junior class|
|February 22 from 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.||H309||Any student who needs help with their resume|
|February 24 from 11:35 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.||H309||Students interested in Quest|
|February 28 from 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.||H309||Parents of students who are interested|
|March 2 at 3:00 p.m.||High School Office||Applications due for all students|
The Quest calendar is designed to ensure students can participate in extracurricular and spirit activities. With the exception of the first two weeks which will be an eco-adventure and the two weeks prior to winter break, the Quest calendar aligns with the SAS calendar.
The units stress skill acquisition through interdisciplinary projects personalized to the interests of each student. Quest students explore various topics, forms of communication, and are encouraged to engage with school, community, and global networks. If you don’t know what you’re passionate about then the first part of the year is primarily to help you figure this out. If you feel like you need to take the education you’ve received and expand it to real world applications then these units will allow you to do so. Throughout the year, students will practice time-management and project organization and develop skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and cultural awareness. The year culminates with a senior project thesis paper, talk and defense. In addition students will start the beginning of the year planning a service trip, which they will fund and plan throughout the year. Toward the end of the year the students will go on the trip to make a positive impact on others.
Each student in Quest will schedule their time around the Quest community time, group project work and the senior project. Throughout the students’ day, the advisors will regularly provide personalized resources and assistance to ensure that they are meeting expectations and discovering strategies that work for them to be responsible for their own learning. As such, there is no “set schedule” for how a Quest student will spend their time. Students will have flexibility and accountability to plan their time as needed.
To help visualize the uniqueness of the flexibility afforded the students, below is what a daily schedule of a Quest student might look like:
Notice that Quest might start later or have activities scheduled in the evening, but this will not interfere with extracurriculars. This does, however, allow each student to practice time management, while still being accountable to the advisors for where they are and what they are doing. This ensures that each student can have their time to be inspired, but also meet the requirements of the program.
Students will digitally document their learning experience through a personal learning portfolio, which will be used to demonstrate their abilities in addition to what the advisors see. This process will look different for each person throughout the day, but that is what Quest is about. Providing a personalized experience for each student that helps them to pursue high expectations.
Students will be evaluated using rubrics developed using the educational gold standards of today. Rubrics focussed on skills have been adapted from:
- College Board Advanced Placement
- Ed Leader 21
- Common Core
- Project Lead the Way
- IDEO and Stanford dSchool
- Association of American Colleges and Universities
The focus on skills will be reflected on the transcript. Quest students are guaranteed 6.0 high school credits with an optional Independent Learning Credit available. Successful fulfillment of the senior project in Quest fulfills the catalyst graduation requirement. As long as it fits within the two open Quest blocks, students may take one course at SAS as their Independent Learning Credit. Alternatively, students may take an online course of their choice for the Independent Learning Credit.
*Students that have taken AP Seminar can do AP Research in Quest.
Colleges increasingly want to see the passions of each student. Quest provides the opportunity for students to practice resilience and to be inspired from the start of the year.
QUOTES FROM COLLEGES
Stanford’s Dean of Admissions Richard Shaw states: “It’s a holistic evaluation. Of course academic credentials are important, but we’re also looking for evidence that this young person has a passion, that he or she will bring something to our community that is unique. We want to hear a ‘voice’ — that’s a critical component.” (Stanford Alumni Magazine, Nov/Dec 2013 ed.)
“At Northeastern, your education doesn’t end once you leave the classroom. We are looking for students who understand that and who are excited to challenge themselves in research labs, in co-ops, in community service, and in global experiences. Our students are bright, mature, diverse, and highly motivated individuals who embrace our community and take full advantage of our distinctive educational experiences.” (Northeastern University Admissions Website)
Below are two questions from the Common Application. Quest provides students a unique opportunity to create an interesting narrative to answer these questions. From the beginning of the year, students will dive into their Senior Project and have a different learning environment, which will allow them to speak to the common application with an authentic voice.
- The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
- Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
Quest is unique because we are granted the ability to take control of our own learning. We invested time into our passions and established networks and connections with experts. Quest sets itself apart because no where else can you be at school and working with professionals at the same time. Quest reinforced the importance of time management and being self-motivated. Using these skills helped me work with various NGOs committed to resolving the refugee crisis in Europe and with the Embassy of the European Union in Singapore. Working with these groups and organizations allowed me to set foot into the world we will inherit after we graduate which has given me the chance to get a head start for adulthood.
Nigel Li, Grade Twelve