The Whitby Difference

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Academic Rigor, Redefined for the 21st Century

Schools that associate academic rigor with test taking, hours of homework and rote memorization of facts are preparing students for success in the last century.

"An individual’s success in the 21st century will be entirely dependent on his or her ability to think critically and creatively about the challenges they face."

Rigor at Whitby is much more expansive as we provide our students with opportunities to explore real-world concepts and issues, challenge assumptions, think critically and acquire skills that they will need to apply throughout their educational and future professional journeys.

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Triple Accreditation Puts Us In a Class of Our Own

Yes, you read that right. Whitby is recognized by three accrediting bodies - the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), the American Montessori Society (AMS) and the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS).

We think this is pretty amazing. Each accrediting body requires an in-depth self-study that involves most of the staff and takes the school a year to complete.

The commendations and recommendations of the self-study, when validated by the accrediting agencies, ensure we remain focused on our mission and progressive in our continued commitment to provide an exceptional learning continuum for our students.

Your Child's Questions Will Change the World

Whitby didn't invent inquiry-based learning, but we sure do it well. Starting in the earliest years, our students are encouraged to post questions on their classroom's Wonder Board.

As they move up through the grades on their learning journey, their questions become the foundation of their inquiry and research into the world around them.

The genius part of this process is that the questions spark their curiosity and then their curiosity leads to more questions.

And, can you guess which questions students are more committed to finding answers for; the ones they're being asked or the ones they're asking?

If you said the latter, then Whitby is the right place for you.

 

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Your Child, In the Driver's Seat of Their Education

We're happy to share the ingredients of our not-so-secret recipe for making your child into a lifelong learner but only on one condition. You must promise that you will share this recipe with the folks at whichever school you end up choosing for your child.

  • First, give students the freedom to explore and inquire into the world around them.
  • Second, provide them with lots of opportunities for reflection as well as time for collaboration with their peers. Then, give them the tools to assess themselves as learners.
  • Next, give them the opportunity to present their learning in Student-led Parent-Teacher Conferences.
  • Finally, repeat these steps over-and-over for 12 years. If you followed this recipe then you will end up with children who take ownership of the learning process, have a vision to chart their own course and the strength to learn whatever, whenever needed.

Remember, students are far more committed to the outcome when they have a voice and a choice.

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Academics are Just One Piece of the Puzzle

We all know academics are important, but only focusing on them is like watering one leaf of a plant.

"At Whitby, we understand that the joy and challenge of learning needs to extend well beyond the classroom so we embrace the idea of focusing on the whole child."

This means that we provide opportunities to support our students' social, emotional and physical needs along with their academic needs.

One highly visible example of how we achieve this is through our co-curricular program which provides students with opportunities to engage in a wide array of after-school classes that extend learning from the core subjects.

Now we're going to share some of the class titles that we offer but, be warned, you may want to go back to school after reading these; Comic Creations, Global Video Game Developers, Kung Fu Tiger, Circuit Adventures, Beginner Crochet, Slimy - Scaly - Ooey - Gooey, Advanced Chinese and 3D Printing.

Warning: Our Teachers' Passion for Learning is Contagious.

You know your children have caught the "learning bug" if they can't wait for summer vacation to end so they can get back to school.

Our students love learning because our teachers love learning.

At Whitby, we believe learning should continue throughout your whole life, and employees are constantly encouraged to pursue new growth opportunities. Teachers that find joy in the pursuit of their own professional growth translates into the kind of passion that inspires students to reach for new heights.

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Differentiating Learning Through a Low Student-Teacher Ratio

Forget the "one-size fits all" approach to education where one teacher teaches a large group of students all at the same level. At Whitby, our multi-teacher classrooms allow us to differentiate the instruction on a small group or even individual basis.

Teachers observe, mentor, challenge and assess, while providing their students with the freedom needed to inquire, explore and develop a deeper love of learning.

Just for the record, when we say multi-teacher classroom, we don't mean one teacher and one assistant. We mean two to three fully certified teachers per classroom in the Lower School as well as the Children's House. Oh, and did we mention that our teachers rock?

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Diversity Shouldn't Just be Another Checkbox

Whitby’s population represents 27 countries, with more than 22 languages spoken. This means that our teachers don't have to look very far to find parents willing to come in to share stories of their heritage or life journeys.

"'Diversity isn't a requirement we struggle to meet. It is a part of our lifeblood."

We live it every day and so our students end up being the beneficiaries of a school culture where differences in perspective are valued and contribute to the development of empathy and critical thinking skills.

Need a global perspective? Talk to one of our students.

Happiness Found in the Service of Others

We think Gandhi was so right when he said that the best way to find oneself is to lose oneself in the service of others. At Whitby, we make volunteerism a key part of our student's experience. In fact, our 7th and 8th graders can't graduate without 30 cumulative hours dedicated to what we call community service.

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."
-Mahatma Gandhi

If you live locally, then you may have even seen our students around town volunteering at different organizations such as SoundWaters, Bruce Museum, Red Cross, Adopt-A-Dog and Boys and Girls Club.

The best part of community service is that it is a win-win situation for the students who learn to develop empathy, humility and leadership skills, as well as the organizations the students are volunteering at as they get free labor. In turn, the people (or doggies) being helped by those same organizations receive the extra support.

By now, you're probably wondering why all schools don't make this part of their curriculum. Yes, we're wondering that too.

 

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See the Whitby Difference in Person

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