When I developed our revamped strategic plan a couple of years ago, one of the key pillars was a focus on academic excellence. The trustees decided it was critical to ensure Wornick had a competitive, academically rigorous curriculum,"steeped in critical thinking" as we state in the school's mission statement. Dr. Gereboff had just assumed the role of Head when this plan was implemented, and in the intervening years, Dr. Gereboff has made tremendous strides to bring Wornick's academic excellence to a whole new level. Here's a perfect example -- watch Shona Schwartz present critical thinking in our middle school social studies:
The focus on academic excellence is a process of iterative refinement as we continually review best practices to integrate. As we address the curriculum overall, we notice that differentiation within the classroom comes into focus, both for the challenged and gifted. To that end, Wornick is undertaking two projects.
- We are now a pilot school for the new Rosh Pina Project, a learning differentiation and special needs certification program where our staff, trustees, and community educational consultants will evaluate how we handle differentiation today, identify the gaps between what we need to serve and what we can serve, and how we create a road-map to fill in the gaps we feel we should address.
- The second project is exploring education innovations for differentiation and affordability, which has an exploratory committee comprised of parents, educators and consultants. This committee is looking for new ways to deliver curriculum as well as engaging and preparing students for the expectations of high school, college and life, while potentially broadening the population of students we can educate. Some focus areas include blended learning -- a combination of computer-delivered content and students working self-paced and independently with teachers as coaches; the feasibility of single-sex classes that address academic and emotional differences in how boys and girls learn so that we can maximize impact; and experiential learning which builds on our project-based learning by adding more, differentiated, cross-subjects. This research will result in a proposal that Dr. Gereboff and the board of trustees will decide in what to invest and implement.
Between these two projects our hope is to better educate our current student body and possibly open the doors to a broader set of children. If you are interested in participating in either of these, please contact Esther Gillette (email@example.com).