Woolman Semester

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Woolman Semester
13075 Woolman Lane
39°16′10.93″N 121°6′8.37″W / 39.2697028°N 121.1023250°W / 39.2697028; -121.1023250Coordinates: 39°16′10.93″N 121°6′8.37″W / 39.2697028°N 121.1023250°W / 39.2697028; -121.1023250
Nevada City, California 95959
United States
Type Private (Single semester school)
Motto Peace, justice, and sustainability.
Established 2001
Head of school Gray Horwitz
Staff 13
Grades 11-12
Number of students max of 24/semester
Athletics None
Mascot Wombat
Affiliation College Park Friends Educational Association

The Woolman Semester is a semester school focused on the intersections of peace, social justice, and sustainability. Students come from all over the country to attend Woolman for a single semester during their high school junior, senior, or gap year. Students spend a semester deeply immersed in contemporary topics and exploring issues first hand as well as working with each other and the staff and interns to run the daily operations of the school, including cooking meals, chopping firewood, and growing and harvesting the food eaten at the school.

The classes of the program are Global Thinking, Peace Studies, Environmental Science, Non-violent Communication, Ceramics, and Farm to Table. Woolman is the only Quaker (Friends) semester school in the country,[1] and in accordance with the philosophy of Quaker Education[2] the Woolman Semester curriculum centers around collaboration, activism, and open inquiry into local and global issues.[3]

General information[edit]

The campus is nestled in the Sierra foothills on 236 acres of field and forest. The nearest towns are Grass Valley and Nevada City, California.

The Woolman Semester began in spring of 2004, after a two-year restructuring period. Previously, the campus had been home to the John Woolman School, a four year high school that served the community from 1963 to 2001.[4]

The mission of the school is to weave together peace, sustainability, and social action into an intensely rigorous academic experience.[5]


Woolman Semester enriches a typical high school curriculum with college-level, seminar-style course work and experiential opportunities that promote lifelong learning, personal growth and intellectual commitment.

The core classes of the program: Environmental Science, Global Issues, and Peace Studies yield Environmental Science credit, Economics and Government credit, and English credit. Additional classes provide art credit and elective credits. Woolman is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).[6]

Students and staff spend much of the day in small, rigorous academic classes, with substantial time devoted to the hands-on work of the community: the garden and orchard, the kitchen, and the forest.[7] Teaching and learning is part of a collaborative community process that includes classroom work, independent projects, and off-campus trips.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Friends Council on Education". friendscouncil.org. Retrieved 2014-10-18. 
  2. ^ "WFS - Quaker Education". Archived from the original on 2004-02-12. Retrieved 2014-11-03. 
  3. ^ "The Woolman Semester School: Progressive, Experiential Education | Semester School & Gap Year Program for Peace, Justice & Sustainability". semester.woolman.org. Retrieved 2014-10-18. 
  4. ^ John Woolman School
  5. ^ "Semester Schools: Program Sampler - Peterson's". Archived from the original on 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2014-10-18. 
  6. ^ White, K.M. (2009). The Complete Guide to the Gap Year: The Best Things to Do Between High School and College. Wiley. p. 195. ISBN 9780470501214. Retrieved 2014-10-18. 
  7. ^ "The Woolman Semester School Profile | Nevada City, California (CA)". privateschoolreview.com. Retrieved 2014-10-18. 
  8. ^ "Woolman Semester: A Teaching and Learning Community | Friends Journal". Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2014-10-18. 

External links[edit]