Educational Approach

Whitmore School Mission

Whitmore School seeks to provide a supportive, challenging, and alternate learning environment. Students are encouraged to be in charge of their education, giving them the opportunity to develop creativity, independence, responsibility, time management and critical thinking skills. We emphasize mastery of all academic courses, allowing students to view themselves as capable of achieving their educational goals.

How Do We Accomplish Our Mission?

Mastery-Based Learning

Our online system is designed to focus on students’ strengths and achievements, rather than their limitations and failures. For example, our individually-paced mastery learning approach eliminates the “need for speed” present in a standard classroom and allows students to learn at their own natural rate. Students may begin a new course at any time during the calendar year, and progress at the pace that they find most comfortable. Students are awarded credit for a course by revising each lesson until the concepts are mastered. Instead of having to keep up with other students, Whitmore School students can learn as slowly or rapidly as their personal learning style dictates.

At Whitmore School, teachers encourage students to persevere. On average, students revise their lessons 3 – 4 times before receiving a grade. English courses may require more revisions as students hone and polish their writing skills. This is the norm at Whitmore School and students become deeply engaged in the learning process.

Think of it this way.

mastery learning to ride bike

 

Just like learning to ride a bike, children keep practicing while parents keep coaching until they find their balance. It takes children many attempts to master the skill.

 

game controller

 

Teens, when playing a new video game rarely achieve the highest levels without multiple attempts. Just like both of these examples of mastery learning, students at Whitmore School try, revise, and try again.

 

Whitmore School courses are self-paced. However, there are 2 limitations to this:

  • No student is permitted to finish a course in less than 30 days from the time he or she submits the first lesson in that course.
  • Your username and password are active for 1 year from the date of your enrollment – your Enrollment Year. If your coursework is unfinished after 1 year, you may simply re-enroll and continue where you left off. Or, if you have fewer than 5 lessons to complete, you may qualify to purchase a 30-day extension to complete your coursework.

Whitmore School’s mastery learning philosophy offers students the freedom and responsibility of self-­paced learning where students are accountable for mastering all the skills and content of each lesson. In the process, students also master important life skills such as time management, effective communication, independence, responsibility, and critical thinking skills.

Critical Thinking Skills

Developing critical thinking skills is so important, especially in today’s constant exposure to information on social media and the Internet. Whitmore School students are expected to conduct research from educational resources, form an opinion and summarize their findings. History courses are based on primary documents, laws, and mores of the times.

“We teach students how to think, not what to think.”

Clint, Social Studies Department Chair

Personal Graduation Plan

Every student works closely with his or her counselor to develop their Personal Graduation Plan. We begin by reviewing previously earned high school credits. From here, you and your counselor will review the course that you will be required to complete in order to graduate. You will have many course choices from core courses such as US History and Trigonometry to electives courses such as Stress Management and Digital Photography.

Each week, your counselor will send you and your parents a Weekly Summary Progress Report so that you always know where you stand toward your goal of graduating. Students enrolling in the Diploma PLUS program also receive a Monthly Detailed Progress Report and may have regular phone meetings with their counselor as needed.

Developing Grit and Personal Responsibility

Teachers hold all students to high standards of mastery while being personally encouraging. Obstacles such as time and place are removed.

Students are encouraged to be in charge of their education by setting their own schedules, delving deeper into topics of interest, and practicing self-advocacy in various ways. Our lesson assignments are designed to give students opportunities for creativity and independence.

Each student is in charge of his or her own important tasks, such as submitting a request for a final grade at the completion of a course. Students also schedule their own time to work towards their personal goals.

Our graduates report having the skills and confidence to excel in college, career and life!

From the Blog

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