Wye River believes, and research abundantly supports, that students learn best and are most engaged when they study what interests them most. We emphasize the use of informational texts and literary selections chosen by teachers based on their classes’ interests. While we make use of teacher and student textbooks in math, our text selection focuses on books, journals, primary sources and web-based media. This enables our faculty to offer a variety of relevant and motivating options.
For example, our Chemistry students may blog on a wide variety of topics of their choice. In Language Arts, every student is required to choose, read and respond to one independent reading selection every quarter. Social studies students choose from and study a great range of current events and topical issues. Music instruction centers on enabling novice musicians as well as accomplished performers to study an instrument of their choice, including piano, guitar, drums, voice and ukulele. All teachers use rubrics that enable students to know what is expected of their work and choose the depth and breadth of their final product.
A percentage of our students enroll at Wye River with documented weaknesses in specific academic skills. These weaknesses are addressed through targeted and individualized remedial instruction in appropriate classes. Student progress is monitored through annual testing, and skill deficits are charted in the Wye River Student Development Plan or SDP, a document similar to the public school IEP (Individualized Education Plan). In addition to monitoring academic skills in reading, writing and math, Wye River formally notes progress in social-emotional development and executive function skills where there may be an observed deficit.