High school should be very different in 2020 than it was in 2010. Are you going to settle for a high school from the past, or are you going to choose a high school for the future - your child’s future?
In The Classroom
While the most important single factor shaping The Winchendon School education today is the more than 90 years experience and commitment to providing each of our students an individualized program determined by his or her strengths, opportunities and interests - there are also two forces that have dramatically influenced great learning over the last fifteen years:
Brain science - Due principally to the invention of the MRI and the resulting dramatic improvements in neuroscience , we know much more about the development of the adolescent brain and what will stimulate effective learning.
Technology - Technology has changed who students are. It has changed how we learn. It has changed what we can do and what we have access to. It changes how we process and think. And it changes the range of skills and habits that each of our students needs to graduate with.
This means that a great high school education should look very different than it did just five years ago, and certainly much different than it did ten or fifteen years ago. The skills and habits that will be needed in 2020 or 2030 will evolve dramatically from what they were in 2010.
At The Winchendon School, our teachers work hard to make sure that we are applying the emerging science and that our learning methods reflect the best practices, in order to provide your child with the best possible education.
The following is an overview of the key elements of Winchendon’s academic program - including three signature programs that have been developed at Winchendon over the last decade in response to emerging best practices in education.
Global Dynamics - A TWS Signature Program
Global Dynamics is a four-year sequence of courses that provides students with an integrated, multicultural survey of different regions of the world: Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the United States. Students examine history, art, literature, political science, economics and sociology to grapple with the forces of human nature - what unites and divides us - both in centuries past, and as events became news yesterday. Contemporary challenges require interdisciplinary solutions, and Global Dynamics is based on that model. In addition to comprehension, expression, and problem solving skills, students develop increasingly robust critical thinking and collaborative skills.
ColLABs - A TWS Signature Program
ColLABs (short for Collaborative Laboratory) Courses are elective-style workshops based on one of three types of learning experiences:
- Faculty-led, immersive classes with extensive project and field-based learning
- Student designed (with teachers as mentors) independent projects in areas of specific interest
Regular classes are set aside for the last two weeks of each semester so that students can pursue ColLABs of their choosing - all of which emphasize fundamental skills and habits central to The Winchendon School: character, collaboration, resilience, resourcefulness, and adaptability, just to name a few. Risk-taking is encouraged, and the design process and experience are often as important as the actual ColLAB itself.
Service Learning - A TWS Signature Program
Service Learning is a year-long, student -led, project-based curriculum in which students identify a problem or issue in the community around them and then work to fix it in collaborative groups. Service Learning is another element of the Winchendon experience where student interests reign supreme: from the theater to animal rights, from the impact of addiction to protecting the environment - whatever it is that our students feel the world needs. They put together the ideas, resources, and plan to make it happen. Service Learning is as important as any course of study at Winchendon, as not only are the students practicing the core disciplines of problem solving, comprehension and communication, but they also have the opportunity to develop empathy, resourcefulness, adaptability, resilience and collaborative skills--and SL may be the single greatest opportunity for teens to develop leadership skills.
Math, Science and Computer Science
Logical, quantitative, and scientific reasoning are essential to a well-rounded education. Our Science and Math programs are designed to form a solid foundation for those who are “less math confident,” while providing unlimited opportunities to those for whom math and science come more easily. This includes the option to study advanced topics, including multiple AP courses in math and science, and beyond. In addition, new courses in coding, engineering and computer science have been added in recent years to ensure that our Winchendon students are well prepared for a technology-enabled future.
In addition to the four-year sequence of Global Dynamics, we also offer a number of humanities courses including a full range of English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) courses for those newer to English, as well as Composition Rhetoric I-III for students who would benefit from additional focus on their core reading and writing skills beyond what they will work on through the Global Dynamics curriculum. Within GD, seniors also choose from various history and literature tracks. Each year, these are complemented by elective offerings based on student interest that have ranged from Art History to Digital Storytelling.
The most effective language instruction focuses on the role of the individual in a multilingual, global society. The approach to second language instruction found at The Winchendon School is designed to facilitate genuine interaction with others, whether they are on another continent, across town, or within the neighborhood. In addition to reading and writing skills, a social-cultural-historical emphasis is a significant curricular goal in the world language classroom. Winchendon offers Spanish, French, ESL, and languages through our collaboration with Hybrid Learning Consortium, including American Sign Language.
Fine and Performing Arts
The Arts program at Winchendon is designed to build intellectual curiosity, critical thinking skills, and an appreciation for the arts. The program includes offerings in both visual arts and performing arts, providing students with a broad spectrum of options for artistic development and expression, and creating pathways both for those who will pursue entrance into elite studio and conservatory programs, and for those students who are interested in becoming a little more creative and expressive. Students may choose to take art classes for credit during the academic day. They may also sign up for various afternoon activities, including: auditioning for the fall play and the spring musical, painting, drawing, ceramics, or photography work in the studio. Other offerings include jazz ensemble, an A Cappella group or two, and the Ukulele Club.
Hybrid Learning Consortium
The Winchendon School has joined the Hybrid Learning Consortium (HLC) to offer students an expanded catalog of courses and additional educational opportunities. The HLC connects independent schools in order to give students and faculty the opportunity to experience diverse courses through an engaging online environment. Unlike online courses, HLC courses are interactive, with each student working closely with the teacher and other students taking the course. HLC-partnered schools share a vision that member schools profit from a wider variety of course offerings than any singular educational institution can provide. Winchendon students benefit from this partnership by having an extensive number of courses made available to them that otherwise would not be feasible for the School to offer on its own.