The educators of Worcester Preparatory School are hard at work, providing stimulating curricula that embrace the best of both traditional and innovative teaching techniques and resources
Every year scientists and researchers make great strides toward understanding the mysteries of the human brain. We know, for example, that the key developmental window for the brain is longer than previously thought. Significant changes in children’s brains related to the development of essential sensory, linguistic, emotional and social skills occur throughout the first 12 years.
Educators at Berlin’s Worcester Preparatory School are well aware of this and the critical importance of early learning. That’s why they’ve developed curricula designed to engage students’ curiosity while establishing a foundation for the higher-level academic challenges they will experience throughout their years at the school.
Founded in 1970, WPS is widely recognized as a dynamic learning institution. Members of the Class of 2014 earned over $7.3 million in scholarships and attend 42 different schools in 16 different states as part of their 100% college-admission rate. Over the years, WPS has placed its graduates in every Ivy League college and university, with equally illustrious institutions such as Stanford, Duke, Georgetown, William & Mary, MIT and England’s Cambridge University included among them. They have produced 50 Advanced Placement Scholars, 22 Scholars with Distinction and two AP National Scholars in 2013 and 2014 alone, and their roster of honor societies includes the prestigious Cum Laude Society.
At the pre-kindergarten through grade 2 levels, WPS students engage in studies that focus upon meeting educational, social, emotional and physical needs in a warm and supportive environment. The school’s teaching techniques are both traditional and innovative, with students exposed to a variety of technologies, challenging math problems and stimulating science experiments. An emphasis on developing skills in writing and public speaking also begins early at WPS.
With its 1-to-1 iPad program, WPS ensures that current digital technology becomes an everyday part of students’ lives. Classes of younger students are provided with iPad carts, and most classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards. WPS also boasts three complete computer labs, with challenging coursework that includes robotics, computer programming, code writing and app creation. Older students, meanwhile, learn to program with languages such as Python, Robot-C, Java and Swift. Other tech activities include building computers, creating interactive virtual worlds, digital engineering, website design and creating digital games. WPS students not only use 3D printers, some have even built their own.
All of these high-tech resources and the school’s curricular emphasis makes it easy to understand how a group of WPS students was able to place third among 1,986 competing groups in the 2013 Carnegie-Mellon Hacking Competition, which is designed to teach students how to thwart computer hacking, and why the lower-school chess club is the reigning Delaware state champion.
But for all this cutting-edge high-tech, the administrators and faculty of WPS — many whom are regarded by the community as not just educators but local institutions — make sure they don’t neglect the fundamentals.
“In order to give our students the best education possible, we must never forget how important social interaction and traditional academics are to learning and success — even in the age of technology,” offered Dr. Barry Tull, headmaster of WPS.
“It is for this reason that WPS emphasizes character-building as part of its overall academic program,” offered Dr. Merle Marsh, director of special projects and an original WPS faculty member. “Respecting others, taking pride in accomplishments, accepting challenges, taking difficult courses, having the confidence to speak publicly and being willing to work hard are all qualities WPS strives to instill in its students.”
In addition to comprehensive programs in math, science, social studies, foreign languages and the arts, WPS has cultivated a very competitive athletic program. Its alumni have played on national championship teams in tennis and lacrosse at Duke and Princeton, while others have played college soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, golf and tennis at Harvard, Penn State, Georgetown, Virginia, Stanford and Navy.
“When people ask me what I’m most proud of, they assume I’m going to say something about the kinds of colleges and universities our graduates get accepted to,” shared Headmaster Tull. “But what I’m even more proud of is how well prepared they are when they get there.”
WORCESTER PREPARATORY SCHOOL
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