A classical, sequential curriculum based on continual reinforcement from pre-school through the twelfth grade is the core of the WCDS education. At each grade level, students cover material in the areas of English, math, science, history, geography, and foreign language in a manner appropriate to the student's developmental level. Art, sports, and music are structured parts of the Early Education , Lower School and Middle School curricula. Upper School students may pick from various electives in these disciplines to fulfill diploma requirements. To ensure competence and consistency in key areas, certain programs are disseminated school-wide, creating a core of material studied by everyone and ensuring a bond of shared experience. These programs include the Word of the Day, the Great 100s, Summer Reading, and the Grammar Program.
Each student receives two periods of instruction per day in an English Curriculum which includes vocabulary, grammar, composition, and literature. Each area of English receives its own grade to ensure due emphasis, and all are taught in a reinforcing, incremental way. Modern foreign language instruction begins in pre-school; Latin study is added starting in seventh grade. Extensive study of classical and modern foreign languages, along with participation in such traditional festivities as International Day and the Medieval Banquet, help students focus on the history and culture of western civilization.
To these core subjects, Upper School students add a course of study appropriate to their personal academic goals. The list of options is rich: up to five years of French, Spanish, or Latin, and advanced courses in history, literature, art, music, mathematics, and several Advanced Placement (AP) courses.
Seniors work closely with the College Counseling office and are matched with a diverse network of local professionals as part of required internships. They also spend their last year researching, defending and refining senior theses through the support and challenge of faculty and fellow classmates. They present their findings before panels comprised of faculty members and others with expertise in their chosen subject areas.
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