When every student has a champion, everyone wins.
IT STARTS WITH YOUR BLUEPRINT FOR SUCCESS
In Learning Advocacy, you’ll be paired with an academic coach (we say your "Learning Advocate") who will work with you to start developing your own distinctive Individual Success Plan. Your Advocate will collaborate with other team members - including teachers, coaches, and mentors. Learning Advocacy builds upon your strengths. Our goal is to put you on track to having independent academic success.
WE TAKE A DIFFERENT APPROACH
At Winchendon, we take a different approach to providing academic support compared to our peer schools. If you’re looking for the “Learning Center” at The Winchendon School, you’ll find it in every classroom and every dorm floor throughout the campus. Our “Learning Center" is intentionally spread throughout the campus (but yes, there is an office in Ford Hall). Faculty at The Winchendon School are purposely trained in teaching to a variety of learning styles. In this way, students spend more time in the classroom.
WE LOOK AT ACADEMIC SUPPORT THREE WAYS
Winch Skills and Habits 101
Winch Skills and Habits 101 (WiSH101) is a workshop for all new underclassmen each fall. The once-a-week seminars introduce you to tools, strategies, and habits designed to help you make the transition to the faster pace of high school.
WiSH 101 is the perfect place for new students to learn more about themselves and their new school. The class meets weekly for the first eight weeks of the year.
Four class period meetings with the Learning Advocate per week. During admissions, a thorough review of previous school records and testing combined with parental input, forms the basis of a tailored learning plan ensuring we have the full picture of each student as a whole person - where they need support, and how do they learn? The student is assisted in identifying strengths and barriers to learning. Accommodations, learning strategies, and communication plan are reviewed by parents, the student, and faculty. The student then begins with their Individual Success Plan. This is where most new participants begin.
Two class period meetings with the Learning Advocate per week. A modified continuation of Foundational Support, for students who are mastering some skills, or for those who need ongoing scaffolding. For students entering the program at this level, an Individual Success Plan is developed after a thorough review of the student’s past performance. The plan is reviewed with the student and family, and then shared with the faculty, dorm parents, and coaches who work with the student.
A once a week class with the student’s Learning Advocate, this level is for the student who can use assistance in planning and organizing time in a fast-paced environment. The Learning Advocate and student collaborate and review past performance and make updates to their Individual Success Plan. The Learning Advocate assists the student in identifying their personal learning style, developing and practicing weekly time management, and assists the student in practicing self-advocacy.
Evening Study Program
All Winchendon School boarding students participate in structured evening study hall. Open to day students as well, our Evening Study Program (ESP) is designed for students who will benefit from:
- A distraction-free place to study
- Guidance from faculty who can help you plan out your assignments
- Support to help you establish priorities and strategies for assignments, projects, and upcoming assessments
- Experience to help review your work when done and make sure that it is well organized before you submit it or present it to class
In ESP, you will work in a small, quiet group setting with an experienced teacher. Each school night you will tackle that night’s assignments and get ready for the week ahead. The goal for each student in the program is to progress to the point that extra support is no longer needed.
Is there an extra cost to having an Evening Study Coach and participating in the Evening Study Program?
Yes, and as with Learning Advocacy, the goal of the Evening Study Program is to help you develop the skills and habits to work your way out of the program and to be studying independently. Most students achieve this after a year or two in the program.
IT ENDS WITH YOUR SUCCESS
It’s simple. Winchendon School graduates come back and tell us that the skills they practiced through our Learning Advocacy program empower them to thrive through their college years and beyond...
LEARNING ADVOCACY Profile:
Kelly Harris is our Dean of Academics and Director of Student Support, so in addition to all of her duties supervising most elements of our academic program, she supervises the Learning Advocacy program. She also happens to be a Learning Advocate (LA) herself. We talked to her to get her unique perspective on how we support our students at The Winch and what makes our approach so distinctive and powerful:
"Our Learning Advocacy Program does not pull students out of their classes; instead, our trained professionals observe the students and then give one-on-one feedback. It is a system that builds student confidence and advocacy while at the same time augmenting skills, reframing old habits, and teaching students better ways to learn. The goal is for students to grow out of the program and reach their full potential, but we are always there to support them along the way."
Laurie Lambert, Head of School
I've worked in many different independent schools in my career, and the approach to supporting and challenging all students at The Winchendon School is unparalleled. All of our teachers, and those that support them, know that each and every one of our students can not only do well, but can thrive and excel given consistency and positivity.
J. Ostroff ‘16
My learning advocate, Mrs. Harris, and the evening study program have made me a better student and have given me better study strategies. I’ve been able to maintain grades I didn’t think were possible!