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Your child is unique. 

So is Watkinson.

Our mission is to give our students the power to shape their lives and the world around them.

A clear mission is essential in order to do great things. And the more deeply a teacher or a coach—or, indeed, a student—understands that mission, the more effectively he or she will meet it.  
Watkinson is a mission-driven institution. 
The mission directs our academic program and grounds our community in a set of common values and attitudes. Every decision we make comes home here. Does this program/this hire/this technique help us meet our mission better? It sets the focus for our evaluations and assessments of student work. Is this student gaining in her power? It helps us design curriculum and programs. Does this approach help our students shape the world? 

Our job is to help your child discover and pursue his or her fullest potential. Our approach is a rigorous commitment to individuality—a combination of challenge and support in which no one falls through the cracks and the limits of possibility are continually expanding. 

The rigors of a college-preparatory education are well known. But that's only the beginning. The disciplines of creative and critical thinking take Watkinson students to another level. The practices of self-reflection and self-advocacy, essential questioning, presentation, writing across the curriculum, and cross-disciplinary (and multiple-learning-style) curriculum design combine with a culture that encourages intellectual risk-taking and a diversity of perspectives.

From sixth grade to our Post-Graduate year, Watkinson offers a genuinely different experience. Our excellence is widely recognized: We are a "Lead School" of the Coalition of Essential Schools; our faculty receive awards and grants to present and study both nationally and internationally; our college counseling office has received national recognition as "Counselors That Change Lives."

Watkinson is not a sound-bite school; we have a lot to tell you, and talking about educational philosophy can be complex. But feeling the Watkinson difference is a simple matter. We are pleased to invite you to one of our many Open Houses— a chance for prospective families to visit our historic campus, meet with members of our faculty, and learn more about what our unique and exceptional programs can offer your child. Several are during the school day so you can visit us and see us in action. Of course, we offer day visits for students, and parent interviews can be scheduled any time. You are also more than welcome to come attend a sporting event, play, concert, or lecture.

Beginning the application process is simple. Call (860) 236-5618 to schedule an appointment with Admissions and click here to begin the online application.

Also feel free to explore our website and read about what people say about a Watkinson education.

Ask us for specifics. Ask every public or private school you're considering. Below are a few important questions (and our own brief answers) that might form a starting place for your inquiries. Other questions that can teach you about a school’s commitment to its mission include: “How does your school support professional development for your faculty to better achieve the mission?” and “How does your mission drive your college counseling?” We would love to discuss these questions with you when you visit campus. We feel strongly that you should make no decision until you are comfortable with the answers to all these questions from us and any other school you may be considering.
Four Questions Every Parent Should Ask
Q. What is the object of your curriculum and how does your program support it?
A. Our rigorous college-preparatory curriculum keeps the bar high for every student in every class. A focus on your child is the key; the knowledge of each student’s learning style is essential to helping her or him realize full academic and personal success. With small classes (12-13 per class, on average) and small teacher loads (55 students per teacher, on average), heterogeneous classrooms—classrooms with students of diverse talents and approaches—are the best source of stimulation and collaboration. These small, diverse classes create an atmosphere of “unanxious expectation” where students are encouraged to think critically and creatively. Content is, of course, essential to all learning. At Watkinson, however, it is only the beginning. We go beyond the test, the “right answer,” to challenge students to be adventurous and mature in their thinking.

Q. How does your daily schedule support your mission?
A. In 1999, Watkinson redesigned its class schedule in order to create a more active and vibrant learning environment. Our 80-minute "block" classes allow students and teachers more opportunity for projects, discussion, debate, collaboration, critical thinking, analysis, and reflection. Substantial and compelling educational research supports our belief that having fewer classes per day (our four versus the traditional six or eight) helps students focus and work in greater depth in their studies. Longer periods allow students and teachers to work together more supportively and engage more deeply in the experience.

Q. How does the diversity of your school further the mission?
A. The makeup of a school’s student body says a great deal about its commitment to diversity. At Watkinson, we believe in maintaining a diverse educational environment in the broadest sense of the term—which is to say that there is no such thing as a “typical Watkinson student.” Nearly one third of our student body receives financial aid of some sort, 28% are students of color, and we draw students from over 35 towns yearly. At “The Wat,” athletes, artists, techies, extroverts, introverts, activists, intellectuals, and inventors are all respected as individuals—not funneled into a particular group. In fact, as students gain confidence and begin to explore unfamiliar ideas and activities, such labels often disappear completely.

Q. What core values drive your mission?
A. At the heart of Watkinson lie the core values of respect and integrity. By living these values, our school grows a sense of community, an appreciation of diversity, a commitment to service, and the practices of healthy living. We work to help students develop the tools they need for ethical decision-making. 
While we still print Watkinson News once or twice a year, now that many families opt not to receive magazines (supporting sustainability efforts of both the school and their own families), we also make the printed issue of Watkinson News available as a downloadable PDF for your convenience. 
Watkinson News Winter 2015
Read about alumni who are busy shaping their lives and the world around them.

Watkinson News Winter 2013
Read about the seven habits of our highly effective middle school.

Watkinson News Fall 2009
What's the bottom line? How is the economy influencing Watkinson, and schools in general?

Watkinson News Spring 2009
Sustainable Intelligence: our look at how to shape the world well.

Watkinson News Winter 2008/2009
As local food systems come under scrutiny, we take a look at what feeds us at Watkinson.

Watkinson News Fall 2008
Watkinson News tackles the often undiscussed subject of privilege.