- Who We Are
- How We Teach
- Curriculum at a Glance
- Academic Resources
- College Counseling
- School Profile
- Academic Calendar
- Farm & Food
- Campus as Laboratory
- Farm to Table
- Olney Green
- Bird's Eye View
- Goats: Olney's Other Kids
- Regional Sustainability
- Visioning Olney
- Student Life
- Support Olney
- The East Porch
- News & Events
- Olney Studios
The Summit: Emergent Olney
Welcome to the archive page for the Olney Summit! The Olney Friends School board of trustees approved a Strategic Plan in July 2012 based on the work of the Summit. The plan includes the formation of a committee with a separate core group of people to begin a search for a for-profit enterprise to provide a secondary income stream for the school.
ΔPeople, Planet, Place: Case Studies in Organizational Transformation
A Summit on the Future of Olney Friends School
October 28-30, 2010 / Barnesville, Ohio
How does an environmentally aware, independent Quaker high school evolve into something larger than itself? How can regional organizations work together to develop a new green economy in Appalachia? Through the summit process,we are growing a network of innovative thinkers. We hope you”ll join the conversation!
We’re glad you’ve arrived at the Olney Friends School summit homepage. We invite you to join us on our journey – whether in person, electronically, or in both ways; whether before, during, or after the summit gathering in October.
What is Olney?
Small school, big vision. We are a college preparatory, Quaker boarding high school with 60-70 students in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Our students come from around the state, around the country, and around the globe. They have many different faith traditions, economic backgrounds, and ways of seeing the world.
- Speaking to the world’s needs. A Quaker education is founded on the belief that by seeking for truth collectively, we will ask better questions and find better solutions to society’s problems. In a time when cultural understanding, the peaceful resolution of conflict, and the creation of multicultural communities in a global economy are needed more than ever, Olney Friends School graduates have much to offer.
- Place-based learning. We have been practicing place-based, problem-based learning in the education of adolescents for more than 170 years. Students learn through immersion in the natural world, including use of the school’s bountiful 350-acre campus and our working farm and garden. The humanities and environmental science programs prepare students to be both local and global citizens.
- Wise use of resources. Conservation, as a way of life, is deeply rooted in the culture of the Quaker farming community that founded the school. A wise use of resources, on many levels, is characteristic of student and staff decision making. The Quaker word for choices made in this vein is “simplicity” – using what you need, but no more than that. To take just a few examples: the buildings where students live and study were built, most of them, 100 years ago. We grow much of our own food. In the last six months, students built a new dock for the pond and a mobile goat shed, while maintenance staff carefully fashioned matching spindles to bring a 100-year-old porch railing up to modern code. What we can’t make or repair ourselves (e.g., SmartBoards for classrooms), we readily purchase, after careful consideration of priorities.
- Our neighbors and the land. In addition to Olney Friends School’s 350 acres of fields, pastures, forest, rolling hills, and a pond, we have close ties with other important and beautiful sites nearby, including the Raven Rocks nature preserve (1200 acres) and Elizabeth Telling Farm, which grows organic local produce for a wide regional market. As the world’s population is more and more concentrated in cities, increasing numbers of us grow up separated from the source of the water we drink and the food we eat. Lives more closely intertwined with the natural world, whether for shorter or longer periods of time, can offer respite, knowledge, and a ready laboratory for hands-on learning.
- Sustainable independent schools. Across the country, many families can no longer afford the cost of an independent school education. Independent schools such as Olney offer a chance for students to grow and learn in a setting that encourages personal attention, safety, academic excellence, and leadership opportunities in the campus community. Olney Friends School has attracted a socioeconomically diverse group of students since its founding more than 170 years ago. Many of our students today receive scholarships and financial aid. We aspire to a different model of funding, one that is more accessible to students regardless of financial need, and therefore, is not dependent on tuition for its primary income stream.
- A new green in Appalachia. The Appalachian region is one of the most beautiful in the country. It is also one of the poorest. Coal mining is the largest industry. In view of the finite supply of fossil fuels on the planet and of the human health, economic, and environmental costs of mining, Olney Friends School aspires to be of service as the region seeks to build a new, more sustainable green economy. In addition, we seek to broaden our educational mission to include a wider group of lifelong learners, including but not limited to those in our region.
Models for an emergent Olney.
The summit process is ongoing. Three directions emerged for continued consideration:
1. Making more intentional the international focus of an Olney Freinds School education;
2. Joining with local and regional partners in a sustainable agriculture initiative; and
3. Exploring the addition of a continuing education program for lifelong learners.
A demonstration project for others.
We seek to model a process of finding a new way forward. For this reason, we chose speakers who could share a wide variety of case studies of organizational transformation. We sought to lift up examples of economic and environmental sustainability locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. We heard especially from entrepreneurs who inspired us with a trio of vision, practicality, and service.
Queries about the school’s future.
Here are some examples of the questions we are holding – in Quaker terms, these are known as “queries” – as we begin to imagine the future of the school.
- How will the educational program of Olney Friends School stay the same?
- How will it change?
- What new, income-producing program(s) are we uniquely suited to deliver?
- What new partnerships and other relationships may emerge in the near and long-term future?
- What is our funding model?
- How can we better serve our students, their families, our community, and our bottom line?
- What communities will the new, emergent Olney Friends School draw from; and what are the shared values of those communities?
- Who are the lifelong learners we hope to attract?
- How can we be of service in creating a new green economy in Appalachia?