Excellence in Education
This is what we all want and expect for our children!
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.
At Whitmore School, we believe there is a distinct line between the role of the parent and the role of the school.
We believe that it is the parent’s role to ground their children in morals and ethics. We also believe that it is the parent’s role to teach their children about sexuality, and cultural and political ideas. At Whitmore, we respect your role in these matters. To put it simply, we teach students how to think – NOT what to think. That’s up to you.
We believe in transparency. Parents have their own login that provides access to the Whitmore School curriculum, and ALL communication between their child and their teachers, and Guidance Counselor. Parents also have confidential communication with school administrators if concerns arise.
How Do We Accomplish Our Mission?
Whitmore School is a forward-thinking school with a traditional curriculum. Since 1994, we have utilized the most time-proven approach to teaching – self-paced mastery learning. Our online system is designed to focus on a student’s 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 with a semester schedule, and this allows students to learn at their own natural rate. Brilliant!
Think of it this way.
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.
Have you ever observed a teen while playing a new video game? They rarely achieve the highest levels without trying, revising and trying again.
Just like both of these examples of mastery learning, students at Whitmore School try, revise, and try again. At Whitmore School, we apply this learning strategy in every lesson. Teachers encourage their students to try new skills, and they praise them for their efforts.
“Great job on your thesis statement! Your topic is clear and concise. Let’s build on this.”
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.
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.
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.
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
Why Do We Teach to Mastery?
Every student moves through their courses at their natural rate in every lesson and every course. The student who loves reading can move quickly through English courses while taking the time they need in math. Our teachers work individually with their students, wherever they are in the course, and guide them to master the topics of every lesson. This is not an easy way to teach. But, we teach to mastery because the outcomes are outstanding.
Whitmore School students score higher than national averages on standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT. Students are accepted to colleges and universities throughout the USA and abroad. But, just as important, we see students become thoroughly engaged in their lessons and learn to communicate effectively with their teachers and counselors. Ultimately, Whitmore School students graduate as independent learners and critical thinkers, still grounded in the family morals you have instilled in them.
Whitmore School graduates report having the skills and confidence to excel in college, career, and life!