Knowledge, Illuminated

Vision: To ensure that today’s Westtown students will flourish in a world marked by technological and social change, we will direct our exceptional academic program, robust co-curricular opportunities, and life-changing residential program toward the skills they will need to navigate the future, while grounding them in Quaker values and spiritual discernment.

Long-term aspirations:

  • We will help students hone the essential skills of critical thinking, communication, empathy and compassion, and empower them to draw out those skills in other people. 
  • We will teach students to be informed, effective participants in civil discourse.
  • We will show students how to use technology mindfully, so that they develop positive self-images, healthy relationships, and strong community ties.
  • We will challenge students to develop the tools and ethical foundation needed to build innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

What this means in practice is that our academic programs in each division build these skills through providing students with real opportunities for research and collaboration, for reflection and discussions, and to think creatively, solve problems, and take risks. These opportunities are found in all divisions, and here are just a few examples:

  • Scientific and analytical literacy are paramount. In all divisions, science curricula are rooted in inquiry and respect for the natural world: Even our youngest students begin scientific discovery with questions and hypotheses, then observe, explore, test, experiment, analyze, and iterate. On our vast, biodiverse campus, in our interactive classrooms, and in our state-of-the-art Science Center, students have access to outstanding and unique learning environments.
  • The combined Engineering and Computer Science program in the Upper School offers courses in which students can be authentic problem-solvers, where they are creators and innovators. This program provides broad opportunities for students to learn and practice the skills needed to understand, use, and build new and future engineering and computer science technologies.
  • Westtown’s educational promise is to teach young people to think while empowering them to behave in accordance with their convictions, emphasizing the connection between academic learning and acting as stewards and leaders of a better world in ways that are courageous and compassionate. That means educating ‘global citizens’ by developing specific competencies: their capacities for ethical living and cultural understanding, leadership and collaboration, analytical reasoning, communication, creativity, and information literacy.
  • Service learning, social curricula, and leadership opportunities in Middle School help students this age navigate self-image and peer group issues as well as nourishes their identity development and their innate sense of justice.
  • Tailored social/emotional and diversity, equity, and inclusion curricula in the Lower School fosters a sense of dignity and belonging while empowering students to be upstanding citizens.
  • Building savvy users of technology and information literacy: Students learn about ethical and legal issues surrounding the access and use of media and information technologies. Students evaluate and use a variety of age-appropriate multimedia tools to accomplish specific goals. The Technology Integration Coordinator in Lower and Middle Schools teaches students computing skills, how to use digital tools that support learning, and responsible use of technology.
  • In Middle and Upper School, English and literature courses expand students’ world view. Empathy is developed by using texts that explore identities and understanding the experiences of others, social justice, courage, and resilience. Literary analysis, expository and creative writing skills, critical thinking, and persuasive communication skills are developed.
  • The Deep Dive Certificate Program in the Upper School offers students a deep, scholarly exploration of topics through a multidisciplinary lens. They take ownership of their learning by designing their own programs within the parameters of the Deep Dive designations.
  • In Lower School, reading, writing, and speaking with confidence are skills that are taught and reinforced through a variety of methods, including the Columbia University Reading and Writing programs. We encourage our students to see themselves as readers, to build lifelong reading habits, to write with clarity and purpose, and to be thoughtful communicators.