Open Future Institute wants to share how excited we are to get this new year underway. In fact, it may have seemed that QUESTion Class teachers and Open Future Institute co-facilitators were more eager than students to get up to travel to one of the seven schools hosting the QUESTion Class in the Bronx this year. Starting today, the QUESTion Project is expanding its reach to two new schools in the Bronx – Schuylerville High School and Bronx Latin High School – as well as one new school in Los Angeles: Alliance M. Bloomfield (where students started last week).

Just last week, OFI staff hosted its third multi-school teacher training as part of the QUESTion Academy preparation for all new staff in New York. Teachers, school leaders, Open Future Institute Staff and friends of the QUESTion Project met together to discuss how the QUESTion Class can support students find deeper human connection in and outside of school. The training brought about a powerful manifestation of what possibilities can awaken when teachers create an open and trusting space for their students.

Teachers were able to experience the curriculum for themselves and even meet several alumni of the QUESTion Class. Ten students took holiday from their summer vacation and traveled to the teacher training as representatives for their schools. It’s sometimes easy to place teenagers in a box, but these QUESTion Class alumni blew everyone away with their tremendous depth of critical thinking, empathy, kindness, and desire to serve as catalyzers for change in their education. They humbled everyone with stories about their experience in the class and shared how it has come to support them beyond the classroom. One student commented:

“The class has changed my outlook on the internal and external conflicts that I face and has allowed me to be reflective on different aspects of what makes me who I am. It has trained me to find strength in vulnerability and to not let my fears and paranoia act as a deterrent for achieving my goals and success on many different aspects. Not exclusively externally, but also within myself. It has helped me identify causes greater than myself and why I might want to contribute to them. In my opinion, vulnerability allows for an enhanced education on a much deeper level.”

Student comments like this built a magical experience in the room, which has fueled our enthusiasm to get the QUESTion Class underway this semester. OFI staff have already started traveling to schools to co-facilitate the class with teachers, as part of our applied training, and we look forward to seeing how year five of the QUESTion Class in New York, and year two of the QUESTion Class in Los Angeles, will unfold!

We are more than thrilled to continue stretching the QUESTion Class’ reach and anticipate only more growth in the years to come. For now, happy studying!