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Why Waterford Upper School

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Because big growth happens in small settings, in through small moments, under the warmth of individual care and in the presence of great mentors and models. Because at the moment when adolescents might want to disappear into a crowd, to be seen as just the same as all their peers, and to dismiss adults as out of touch, your child will be seen and known by teachers they will respect and trust.  Because your student will grow, and as they grow, they will be known anew, not just for who they have been, but for who they are becoming.  Because in Upper School, everyone is allowed and expected to find new interests, to build new friendships, to make a few important mistakes, and to see themselves as a work in progress: each student is not only encouraged to be their best self now, but to keep one eye on the adult they want to be. Because we believe that all students are capable of great personal and academic growth -- and because we make a daily practice of maximizing those capacities, supporting individuals’ needs, and lighting the kind of intellectual fires that take students far beyond what they thought they could achieve. Because we teach students to understand their failings as opportunities for reflection, revision, regrouping and growth, rather than just another judgment on a fixed ability.  Because for Waterford students, every class, every test, every hand you raise and every risk you take is not a mirror held up to your weaknesses, but a wishing well of what is possible. Because the way teachers talk about the business of learning matters: language matters, not just to the work of the classroom, but in shaping the kind of resilient, curious, independent thinkers and voracious learners we graduate into a broader world. Because our faculty are quirky, brilliant, compassionate and eager to partner with parents in the project of educating free thinking, resourceful, unique students. Because as teachers, we notice subtle and important details about your children. Because we see our school as built on systems that exist to serve students, and which therefore must stay just a little bit flexible, adaptable, and humane. Because we keep the wellbeing of each child at the heart of every conversation. Because the lessons your student learns here are not just demonstrations of the breadth and depth of our curricular offerings; they are lessons about tenacity, empathy, generosity, self-advocacy, willpower, humor, wisdom and wit. Because we believe in the joy of doing something beautifully, and the beauty of joyfulness. We see how Waterford creates space for each student to get just what they need, at the time that they need it, and we know what that kind of experience is an incredible gift to give to a student.