Watkinson School

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Our Mission
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Watkinson’s mission is to develop in our students the power to shape their lives and the world around them.  Our job is not to make students more like each other, but to help them make the most of themselves. We demonstrate this through our rigorous commitment to individuality.
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About Watkinson School

Co-ed day school

Grades 6-PG (The Academy: a unique gap-year program)

238 students from 40 towns and 2 foreign countries, reflecting a wide range of academic, personal and socioeconomic backgrounds

44 teaching faculty, 25 of whom hold master’s or dual master’s degrees and 3 PhDs

Student-teacher ratio is 6:1

Average class size: 14

Trimester calendar

Advisor system focuses around the school’s core values; each advisor guides 5 – 7 students; advisors and students meet daily

Students of color: 31%

7 Middle School,  12 Upper School interscholastic athletic teams fielded annually;  Hudson Valley Athletic League and New England Prep School Athletic Council

Distinguishing Characteristics of a Watkinson Education

  • Student-centered learning—Students are engaged in and responsible for their own education; teachers are coaches and guides. Our goal is to nurture independent, self-directed learners.
  • Block scheduling—Classes meet 5 times over a 10-day rotation. More time allows for students to probe topics thoroughly and be prepared for every class every day.
  • Faculty accessibility—Watkinson faculty challenge and support every student every day. Knowing each student is what we do best.
  • Students going public—Our students must publicly present their work frequently. This requires students to be prepared to present work in front of peers and an expanded panel of faculty—fostering an increased pride in their own work, and building accountability and preparedness.
  • Student voice—Every student is encouraged to speak their mind at all times. Whether it be about what they require in order to do a better job in their classes or about the programs and policies of the school, students are taught how to articulate their point of view.
  • Personalization—Watkinson taps each student’s potential and passions through programs like 8th, 10th and 12th Grade Exhibitions.

Points of Difference of a Watkinson Education
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Diploma Programs—Watkinson offers two Diploma Programs for students who commit to intensive study in the Creative Arts or in Global Studies. Each Program involves an application process. The Program’s Director works closely with students to help shape the program to each individual.  Students who successfully meet the requirements of either Diploma Program receive a separate diploma, in addition to the traditional Watkinson diploma, upon graduation.

Exhibitions—Watkinson supplements conventional assessments with a long-term, in-depth program of evaluation called Exhibitions, in which students demonstrate their mastery of skills and content in a much more challenging and illuminating way.  Exhibitions happen in the 8th, 10th and 12th grade.

Learning Skills Program—A flagship program in the field of education, Watkinson’s LSP serves students with high motivation and academic potential who need support in academic and/or study skills. The goal of the program is for every student to develop compensatory skills to become a self-advocate through understanding their strengths and needs.

Three-Strand 9th Grade Courses—Students take one trimester classes in Digital Citizenship, Projects, and Personal Essay Writing. These courses are designed to lay the groundwork for students’ high school careers in navigating the digital world intelligently, approaching our project-based curriculum with both intentionality and creativity, and reflecting on themselves personally and as students in writing.

Link to the University of Hartford—Qualified Upper School students take college-credit courses at the University through their College Now program. Students in The Academy (Watkinson’s unique gap-year program for high school graduates) explore the college experience by taking two college classes per semester while maintaining a reduced course load and extracurricular activities at Watkinson.

Contact Watkinson School at http://www.watkinson.org