Haiti, the Philippines, Europe, Nicaragua, Russia, China, Africa, Canada, many U.S. cities and states, groups and individuals…Winchendon students have the opportunity to do lots of purposeful exploring. Last year, one of our students used a ColLAB to study anthropology in the Republic of Congo, while others traveled in groups to France, the Philippines, and Haiti. This year, we have a group heading to Houston to study post-disaster recovery and lend a hand. Our schedule and programs are specifically designed to accommodate field-based learning in some of the most interesting places.
Conference is a critical opportunity that is part of almost every academic day. It is a half-hour or more when every teacher is in his or her classroom or office and is specifically available for any extra help that you might want. It might be an assignment that you are trying to get a jumpstart on or a problem that you struggled with when you tackled it on your own. Students can drop in for a few minutes as needed, although many choose to work with their teachers every conference period. Some of our most successful students choose to attend conference regularly, and our alumni return to tell us that learning to seek assistance in this way is one of the most important skills that they learned when at Winchendon.
ColLABs are short for “Collaborative Laboratory”, a time and physical space during which students and faculty step away from more traditional classroom learning to immerse themselves in an area of interest and to apply the skills and habits that they have acquired. Students have the option to pursue an internship or an independent project, or participate in a teacher-led immersive project in May. More information on ColLABs
At Winchendon, we believe that some of the most important skills and attributes for you to develop are what we refer to as the “Great 8”:
C – Collaborative, Courageous
A – Adaptable
R – Resilient, Resourceful, Responsible
E – Empathetic, Ethical
The development of these characteristics will play as much of a role in your success as being a great writer or solving complex math problems. Service Learning provides the most effective “classroom” where we can practice these attributes and serve our community as well. Students work in groups to understand challenges, develop possible strategies, and then implement solutions. Our students have recently tackled a wide range of issues including engaging local youth through athletic and performing arts programs, supporting veterans, and combating hunger and poverty, among many others. Our Heads of School regularly suggest that Impact Learning may be the most important class that a Winchendon student takes.
The role of your advisor at Winchendon is to support you in all facets of your high school experience. Advisee groups consist of a mix of approximately seven students ranging from freshmen to seniors. Your advisor will meet with you regularly to check in on how things are going, review goals and plans, and to reflect on grades and comments from the previous week. Your advisor can serve many roles including personal coach, mentor, guide and resource to help navigate high school – as well as another trusted adult when you just have to sort things out. While students are assigned an advisor in their first year, students may request to change advisors in subsequent years.
The formal college counseling process begins junior year, although sophomores take the PSAT for the first time (these scores are not released to colleges). Around halfway through junior year, students begin to meet weekly with the College Counseling Office, where they are guided through the college admissions process until the spring of senior year. There are three college counselors for a senior class of approximately 70 students, so each student has the opportunity to work individually with a counselor to discuss his or her own academic/athletic profile, develop essays or a portfolio, and work through the search for the best college options. Additionally, we host more than 100 colleges on our campus every year and hold information sessions with juniors and seniors.
While Winchendon has a compelling curriculum, we are also committed to supporting each student’s individual interests and passions to the best of our ability, and that sometimes takes a student beyond our curriculum. If you want to study something that we don’t offer on one of our campuses, whether that is taking up a new language, pursuing an advanced math or science course, or learning a new skill such as advanced programming or pottery, our team will help you access those courses. That might be through an online or hybrid course or studying at a local college or university.
Yes. Winchendon’s teachers and leadership are committed to supporting a wide range of learning styles and differences. Our micro-classes provide a great setting for kids who learn differently to excel. Our teachers are specifically trained to use a variety of methods and practices to support different learners. And, our Learning Strategists provide additional support to make sure that your teachers know what approaches will most benefit you and to help you develop additional skills.
“…The LS program at Winchendon set Alex on a path for challenge, growth and success and has given her skills and motivation that will carry forward into college and beyond. We couldn’t be happier with the program and the staff that provided valuable, forward-looking approaches with such care and dedication….”
Bill and Allison J. P ‘20
For students on the Massachusetts campus, after a busy week of classes, there are many options to have some fun on the weekends. Students enjoy the facilities on campus and the surrounding area, whether playing sports, walking into the town of Winchendon, or enjoying a game of ping-pong in our student center. Weekend activities include theatrical and musical performances, movies, restaurant trips, dances, plays, and informal activities. On select weekends, we have faculty-led trips to ski areas, amusement parks, or downtown Boston. Some student favorites include cheering on Boston sports teams at Fenway Park or TD Garden and hitting the slopes at Mount Wachusett or other ski resorts in Vermont and New Hampshire. Groups of students may also propose their own weekend trips within a 60 mile radius of The Winchendon School.
Students choose a sport, fine or performing arts program or other activity each season. This can include one of our many team sports offerings, a non-competitive fitness activity, fine or performing arts, or one of our “brainiac” teams – which includes theater productions, robotics and other team activities. Each student is expected to participate in at least one activity involving fitness and one team activity each year – although most choose to do more than one of each – and our schedule permits students to pursue multiple activities each season.
The on-campus health center provides a variety of services to address the overall wellness of our students. Winchendon’s health center has an infirmary, and we also offer counseling for our students. Our nursing staff is on call 24 hours per day, and in the case of medical emergencies, Heywood Hospital in Gardner, MA is located just seven miles from our campus. As necessary, students are also able to access the world-class medical facilities in Boston and Worcester.