Every Student a Leader
The High School experience, by consciously building a Christian worldview into the students, prepares students to live thoughtful, reflective Christian lives in the larger world. They learn to be leaders in institutions of higher learning, Christian and non-Christian, here and abroad. Students pursue a rigorous college-preparatory program that includes course work in Theology, English, History, Science, Mathematics, and Spanish, with elective offerings in Art, Photography, Drama, Psychology, and Physical Education. They hone their leadership skills in a variety of arenas: through participating in student government, theater productions and on athletic teams, through organizing and working on service projects, and by planning and conducting chapels throughout the year
One important mark of an educated person is the ability to see connections between more and more things. This is the root of an interdisciplinary education – presenting and teaching students to recognize connections. Though school is too often presented exclusively in distinct and separate compartments (English, math, history, etc.), the world around us is not.
From the earliest grades, we train our students to see connections between the various disciplines (e.g. between literature, history and art but also between science, mathematics, and the humanities) and challenge them to be better thinkers so they are more prepared for the world that awaits. We show students how to compare the ways of thinking in each discipline to determine how they are similar and how are they different.
All Truth Fits Together
This approach dovetails with a Christian worldview, which sees a single Creator behind every aspect of the creation—we should expect to see connections and an integrity to all that we study. All truth could be fitted together and the connections made explicit. In fact, the original idea of a university was founded on this Christian worldview of the created order. The fragmentation of the university today is a casualty of the decline of that world view in our culture.
The interdisciplinary nature of our curriculum begins with the Core Knowledge framework in the Lower School. It is capped off in the High School with yearly “Capstone Projects” that intentionally connect History and Literature.
Seventh and Eighth Grades
During the 7th and 8th grade years, students explore and begin to own the habits of the lifelong learner in academics, the arts and athletics. These students are just awakening to academic and personal strengths and passions. Students participate in a challenging academic program, developing critical thinking and writing skills. Teachers in every subject guide organization and study skills. Students are placed in the appropriate math course and qualified students will be prepared to progress through Calculus in the Upper School. The study of Latin prepares students to learn a modern foreign language and improves understanding of the English language.
Developing Confidence and Creativity
Music, art, drama and physical education provide exploration of new ideas and expressions of truth and beauty. Students learn to “take the risk” of participating in sports and drama programs, developing confidence and creativity. Academic advisers meet individually with students and assist eighth grade students in planning the appropriate course work for high school. Eighth grade students attend a seminar with the Director of College Placement and the Registrar regarding academic expectations for high school and college; students are encouraged to visit colleges with their parents.
College Preparation: 9th and 10th Grades
During these years students increase responsibility and ownership of academics and activities in the arts, athletics or student government. Students identify academic and personal strengths and begin to focus coursework and activities accordingly.
The academic program refines critical thinking and writing skills and integrates all subjects. Teachers in every subject identify the substantive knowledge and skills necessary for academic success in college. Each student’s course selection, in consultation with the academic advisor and the college advisor, is designed to prepare the student for the college best suited to meet the student’s academic abilities and career interests.
PSAT and SAT Preparation
All high school students are urged to attend college presentations and the annual fall College Fair at WCA. The most important emphasis for ninth grade students is the accomplishment of a strong transition to the High School. Eighth and ninth grades take the PSAT annually. Tenth and eleventh grade students are required to take the PSAT in October. PSAT/SAT preparation is integrated in the core disciplines throughout the academic year. Ninth and tenth grade students are advised of summer academic opportunities offered by colleges for high school students. Eleventh grade students and parents attend the February College Application Process Seminar. Tenth grade students are encouraged to attend this seminar as well.
College Preparation: 11th Grade
During this year, students demonstrate responsibility and ownership of academics and activities in the arts, athletics, or student government. Many students have assumed leadership positions or otherwise demonstrated initiative and creativity. These students have concentrated their coursework with their particular academic interests and personal strengths.
The academic program becomes more rigorous with the introduction of Advanced Placement courses. Qualified students may enroll in AP Biology or AP Government (additional AP courses are available in Twelfth Grade).
Continued PSAT and SAT Preparation
College admission officers visit WCA and make presentations to eleventh and twelfth grade students. Students take the PSAT in October and are entered in the National Merit Scholarship Competition. Intensive PSAT preparation classes are offered. Students and parents are expected to attend the February College Application Process Seminar, which covers all phases of the college and financial aid application process. Students and parents are urged to visit college campuses during Spring Break and the summer. Students take SAT II subject tests in May and June. Students and parents are expected to meet with the Director of College Placement in May to prepare an individualized plan for college admission and SAT preparation.
College Preparation: 12th Grade
During this year students are challenged by increased independence, responsibility and accountability while maintaining a rigorous course load. College applications, leadership in the arts, athletics, and part-time jobs or internships require keen organizational and time management skills. College admission officers visit WCA and make presentations to eleventh and twelfth grade students.