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Layers of growth

Upper School

97.4% of current students agree or strongly agree that “teachers treat me with respect and encourage me to learn.”

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“The teacher-student relationship here isn’t an authority/subordinate relationship — it’s more of a partnership.”

Eve ’19

Recent grad, now attending Bryn Mawr

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“In planning the 9th/10th grade Humanities courses, the Essential Question we started with was, ‘What is it about humanity that needs to tell stories? What is the importance of storytelling, and what is the impact of storytelling?’”

Christina Bernbach

Upper School English Chair & 9th/10th Academic Dean

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“At Watkinson, we don’t have AP classes, because, in fact, we don’t think they’re rigorous enough.”

Jen O’Brien

Director of Global Studies & Science Teacher

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“By coming to Watkinson I was able to grow and not be nervous to try activities just because of my skin color.... I learned that I was able to go into architecture, I was more confident in my art. ”

Ryheem M. ’19

Now attending NYU

“Students know they have a voice; they bring their own ideas to the table, and they might come up with something a teacher hasn’t thought of yet.”

English and history electives

Connected to our work on our five-year Strategic Plan, specifically to deepen our educational program to engage and address all learners in an equitable way, Watkinson has re-crafted its slate of English and History electives.

1960s Monologues

In 10th grade, students research, write, memorize and perform as someone (real or invented) from the 1960s. To capture the motives and struggles of such a character, students must understand the social, political, economic, and cultural events that shaped the people of this period.

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“I have no doubt that Watkinson is the only school where an idea as bold as this one would be encouraged and supported.”

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“The conference clearly wanted someone to present who was a math professor, but, as a student used to being taken seriously at Watkinson, I sent back an email explaining who I was and that I would be happy to present.”

10th grade exhibitions

A year-long process in which students become collectors, evaluators, and exhibitors of their own 9th and 10th grade work in writing, applying the research method, problem-solving, and collaboration. Students receive one-on-one coaching throughout and present their findings to an audience for feedback and commendation.

Graduation Speakers

Unlike other graduations, ours puts the student at the center by having no VIP speaker. Rather, we invite our students — as many as want to — to speak or perform. Last year, 20 graduating seniors took center stage to speak on topics as diverse as their own experiences, personalities, and future trajectories.

“I don’t mind being challenged. I want to be challenged. I mind being bored.”

Watkinson Tenth Grader

Yes! Save me a spot.

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