Curriculum

Independent, student-centered curriculum that emboldens our students and faculty.

What kind of curriculum best supports the growth and development of Pioneers — of innovators, forerunners, entrepreneurs — at a time when curricula are becoming increasingly standardized and colleges are becoming increasingly competitive?

The distinctive Reserve curriculum brings flexibility and creativity to the classroom, optimizes our 6,000-square-foot makerspace, The Center for Technology, Innovation & Creativity, and demonstrates our enduring commitment to preparing our students for the world ahead.

We are the first independent school in our region to move beyond Advanced Placement (AP) courses, joining a growing cohort of the country’s best boarding and day schools that are emphasizing depth, discovery and collaboration over preparation for standardized tests.

Independent Curriculum

To offer the most engaging, challenging and inspiring courses possible, WRA has created an independent curriculum that maximizes the expertise of faculty and responds to the amazing capacity of its students. We have the ability and the imperative from our mission to offer a transformational education experience that is unique. Our commitment to building foundational knowledge remains steadfast, but our eye is on the future as we cultivate 21st-century skills and a love of learning in distinctive and diverse courses like Cancer Immunology, Digital Engineering and Fabrication, Philosophy, Topics in Latin Literature and Mediating Globalization.

Our move to an independent curriculum facilitates deeper, experiential learning. As teachers, we can devote our valuable contact time with students to the most rewarding and enriching topics — instead of having to focus on test prep.

– Diccon Ong ‘81, Head of Department Chairs and History Department Chair

Our Program of Study

Our courses are all built to inspire the college-bound student to do meaningful work and discover individual passion. College Level (CL) courses are our new highest level courses at WRA. In the 2017–18 school year, we will offer 23 CL courses. Rooted in progressive, research-based principles on the design of schools, classrooms and work for students, and a thoughtful commitment to balance, we have moved away from test-focused courses to those that encourage experiential learning, projects, group work, collaboration and a student-centered classroom.

Our new daily schedule allows for fewer transitions, longer classes for deeper learning, a manageable pace without compromising the high quality of the academic program for which WRA is nationally and internationally known.

The new schedule is a seven-day rotating schedule with four meetings per course every seven-day cycle. Each class period is 75 minutes in length and at most a student will have four classes on any given day. There is also a built-in Academic Plus (A+) period of one hour, which is for community, collaboration, guest speakers, extra help and study.

Literacies Program

Beginning in 2017–18, the Class of 2021 will begin taking Digital Literacy courses: Learning to Code and Learning to Make. This new program is an exciting student-centered, experiential learning program that seeks to develop proficiency with the tools of technology, give opportunities to pose and solve problems collaboratively, design and share information for a variety of purposes, and analyze and synthesize multiple streams of information. Students will code, design, communicate in different ways, and create meaningful products that showcase their learning.

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