High School Program FAQs
A Montessori education at any level encourages the development of the whole child, and high school is no exception. At this level we focus on the development of independence, creativity, and self-advocacy.
We value social-emotional well-being and this is evident in all aspects of our learning environment. From meaningful connections with teachers to student-led community meetings, activities in high school nurture the development of empathy, strong friendships, and being known and appreciated as an individual.
Academically, WMS High School is committed to developing students’ depth of understanding, critical thinking, and intellectual curiosity. Our academic curriculum is rigorous, while still allowing room for students to pursue individual passions and interests. Additionally, faculty take the time to address topics in a way that gives students the opportunity to forge authentic connections to the material so that learning is conceptual, contextual, and compassionate.
WMS students are used to having comfortable relationships with their teachers and other adults, which is a huge asset in college. Because of an environment of open communication between students and teachers, our graduates are prepared to advocate for themselves, reach out to professors, and take full advantage of office hours. Academically, our graduates report they are very well prepared for college classes, often much more so than their college classmates. Because our schedule includes independent work times, a college schedule that depends on students managing their own workflow feels familiar and manageable to our graduates.
As we are one of only a dozen accredited Montessori high schools in the United States, our students can contribute a unique perspective to the college environment. Our students graduate from a small program where they are known very well as students and as people. Their educational experience has been designed to focus on maximizing their individual growth and development. As a result, teachers write very detailed letters of recommendation that reflect those personal relationships and make a strong impact on college admissions.
Our college counselor advises students through their entire journey of the college application process, from helping them develop a list of colleges that are a strong fit for their individual needs and interests to working closely with them on their applications and essays. All juniors and seniors meet with the college counselor every week.
AP classes are structured as fast-paced, content-driven courses with a strong emphasis on memorization, a significant amount of homework, and little room for personalization. The AP curriculum is necessarily rigid as it aims to train students to perform well on a fee-based test given by the College Board. The overall instructional methodology of AP classes is contradictory to our Montessori educational philosophy
Not at all. Colleges evaluate the rigor of a student’s high school course load in the context of the advanced opportunities provided by their school, which may be Honors, AP, or IB classes. The key question colleges consider when evaluating an applicant is, “Did you take the most advanced classes that were offered at your school?” At WMS, Honors classes are available to students in all four years of Math, Science, Social Studies, and English. Therefore, colleges will be looking to see how many of those Honors classes students have taken advantage of to challenge themselves in their learning.