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Bartleby Program

Bartleby logo

The Bartleby logo was designed by EHS student
Jake Hensley, Owner of Ink'd Creative.

A brief Bartleby history

The Bartleby School was designed in a student-written grant proposal to rethink education as part of the XQ America Super School Project in 2015. Elizabethton High School sociology students researched education around the world and then applied for a $10 million grant to build a super school focused on experiential, project-based learning.

On Sep. 14, 2016, out of a pool of more than 700 applicants and 10,000 individuals, they were awarded $200,000 and a Student Leadership Award for their proposal. They were one of 13 winners nationwide. The teachers involved were Mr. Dustin Hensley, Mr. Alex Campbell and Mr. Daniel Proffitt.

Ten awardees were named Super Schools and were given $10 million. Because EHS students were not awarded the full amount, they are implementing a pilot program with plans to grow and reach more students.

The name of the program was inspired by the Herman Melville's short story Bartleby the Scrivener. Our students were influenced by Bartleby and his decision to not do things that went against his conscience, even when it went against social expectations. 

Learn about their Projects on the Projects webpage

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The vision for Bartleby is to provide the best individualized education possible for every student. We want to continue integrating personalized projects for students into our curriculum that is driven by passion and has real-world meaning. We envision Elizabethton High School to be a place where the community is fully welcomed as partners and the community will look at our students as equal partners that have a great deal to offer our area.


We believe that students deserve to have ownership of their own education and should have a voice in how their schooling is implemented.

We are taking a journey to rethink high school, and we want to ensure that our entire community is involved in the process.

We believe that a person needs to have understanding of who they are and where they belong in their local community. This means that what students learn in the classroom needs to be made concrete by thorough application.

Core Values

  • Self Discipline & Perseverance
  • Collaboration & Teamwork
  • Critical Analysis & Problem Solving
  • Communication
  • Servant & Transformational Leadership
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Love of Life-Long Learning
  • Adaptability
  • Community Pride
  • Decision Making

Pilot Program

Two classes will allow students to learn academic standards by doing business and service projects in the community. The two classes for which students may register in 2017-18 are Bartleby Community Improvement and Bartleby Entrepreneurship. 60 students (juniors and seniors only) may register for the classes.

Students will be charged with independently (or as a group) identifying community projects. They will work with local organizations, businesses and individuals to meet the needs that they identify, and their success will be based on their goals, strategies and successes and failures of meeting those goals. Boards made up of community and business leaders help interview students for admittance, work with students as mentors, and help assess student portfolios.

In the fall of 2016, Elizabethton City Schools hosted a banquet to which members of the community were invited. XQ leaders and a film crew came, and the teachers and students taught the community about their research and detailed their vision for education. Attendees were invited to fill out cards detailing project ideas, community needs and desire to be involved as partners. These partners currently serve as class Board members, advisors and partners in projects.