The Wellington School
3650 Reed Road
Columbus, OH 43220
|We Build Student Character|
Character is as essential to who we are as a learning community as academics, sports and the arts. In fact, our mission statement specifically calls for The Wellington School to celebrate "excellence in character, academics, the arts and athletics." The climate of high expectations raises the bar for everyone, creating positive peer pressure for effort and excellence.
How well are we delivering? A recent survey of our alumni showed that 96 percent of respondents gave Wellington the highest marks on the question, “Did Wellington create an environment that embraced a balance in character, academics, the arts and athletics?”
Here are just some of the areas in which we strive to build each student's character:
Preparing students to be lifelong learners and lifelong leaders means creating authentic experiences during which they are safe to try new things, fail, ask for help, take a new tack and find their path. That kind of character building happens in our classrooms, on our sports teams and when students are spotlighting their artistic talents.
Here are a few examples:
Monthly Lower School Town Meetings are a safe place for students to risk those first public presentations and performances and to celebrate what they have learned. Some students make announcements. Others perform educational role-plays. Students often share their writing or poetry. But whatever the form, the meetings give tomorrow’s business leaders, politicians and performers their first chance to confidently manage the spotlight.
Middle School students meet twice a week for similar sharing during their morning meetings led by 8th graders. Morning meetings are a chance for any student, teacher or other community member to make announcements, spotlight milestones, announce wins, or even share a joke or start a community conversation. Morning meetings are held every day in Upper School.
Head of School Mr. Robert Brisk, in outlining his vision for success, has created the acronym: F.I.R.E. The "I" stands for interpersonal, and it means The Wellington School must help students to focus on teamwork in diverse settings and to make connections with resources in the broadest sense of the word, both locally and globally. In Upper School, one of the multitude of forms that takes in on our World Championship-qualified Robotics Team. Members learn to fill many real-world roles that go far beyond engineering. Club members must take on the roles of fundraiser, project manager, event promotion, leadership and computer programmer in order to compete successfully.
Collaboration, setting goals, working hard and sportsmanship are all traits learned in the locker room that can be applied to real life. We consider athletics an extension of the classroom and our teachers and coaches are role models. Risk-taking and character building begins in Pre-K when students in physical education are exposed to the traverse wall, which teaches problem-solving and perseverance skills. Those values continue to expand and build as our 7th and 8th grade sports teams begin competition against other schools and continues into Upper School. The Wellington athletic program emphasizes solid moral values, sportsmanship and commitment to excellence throughout a child's development.
Every student has artistic talent, and the Wellington Arts program celebrates each individual. From Pre-K through grade 12, students are on an arc of learning that asks them to consider: How do art and music and theatre tell the story of a society? What can we learn about culture through visual and performing art? Public performances and displays allow students to receive genuine criticism and build their confidence.
|Two Dedicated Counselors|
Wellington offers the services of two full-time counselors. Any student may make an appointment to see one of the counselors. Parents are encouraged to contact the counselors any time for one-on-one help, support, or ways to reinforce the skills taught at school.
is the Pre-K through 5th grade counselor. She teaches life skills, such as how to make decisions, handle transitions, make friends and resolve conflicts, among other developmentally appropriate topics. She spends times every week in every Lower School classroom helping students practice these skills.
is the counselor for grades 6th through 12th and provides a combination of direct services to students, consultation to parents and teachers, and the coordination of relevant activities and services.
The Wellington School counseling philosophy
has the goal of helping children navigate the emotions and stresses of home and school life so they can concentrate on their studies.
Service learning and community service at The Wellington School are a combination of school-created opportunities and student-led initiatives that have benefitted thousands of people in need from Central Ohio to Haiti and beyond.
Here are just a few examples of the ways students in every division choose to give back:
First graders, as part of their Making A Difference curriculum, collect personal items and pop tabs for The Ronald McDonald House, after visiting the facility near Nationwide Children's Hospital. Students see the needs of sick children and their families as guidance counselors help them understand the sadness and stress those families may experience.
Fourth graders learn how to make an impact on their community through Youth For Justice, a statewide curriculum and competition aimed at developing their citizenship, compassion and problem-solving skills. Fourth graders have targeted The Homeless Families Foundation among others as a recipient for their fundraising.
Many of Wellington's Middle School enduring understandings build character by dealing with personal responsibility and identity. Working with others outside of the school community allows students to develop interpersonal and problem-solving skills, and helps them discover their strengths as individuals.
Wellington 5th graders make friends from all over the world at The Columbus Global Academy – a school for new immigrants to the United States. Wellington students meet immigrant children and form friendships that allow them a peek into other cultures.
Wellington 6th graders work with environmental issues first through their fall camp excursion and then through a yearlong partnership with the Grange Insurance Audubon Center. Sixth graders also continue to work with their friends from CGA for a second year to deepen friendships and strengthen community bonds.
Wellington 7th graders are involved in a yearlong service learning project that takes them to three Head Start centers in Columbus to work with preschool-age children. Wellington students go once a month to work for a full afternoon with their young mentees.
Wellington 8th graders help to improve the community gardening space at South Side Settlement House as part of an ongoing partnership with that entity.
In Upper School, individual students drive service by creating their own personal, lasting relationships with charities and by organizing group projects for their peers. Our oldest students regularly volunteer at The Largest Table. Community Service Day in Upper School, organized by the Student Council, gives every student a chance to tackle projects at local nonprofits, including the Ohio Wildlife Center, the Furniture Bank of Ohio, Franklin Park Conservatory, Central Community House, the Salvation Army, the Welcome Warehouse, Life Care, 4 Seasons and Habitat for Humanity. The varsity basketball team has joined ESPN to support Samaritan’s Feet, which has put shoes on the feet of more than 2 million disadvantaged children around the world since 2003.
Our recent alumni have also created strong service records, including: Anthony Jackson '09, who raised more than $120,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation over six years; Jacob Robinson '10 created Students Making a Difference to gather school supplies and books for the Boys & Girls Club of America, and recruited students from Columbus Academy, Columbus School for Girls, Hilliard Davidson, Bishop Watterson, Westerville South and Upper Arlington to maintain SMAD after Jacob left for college at Duke University; Jaime Grinch '11 planted 2,000 trees in two days – by recruiting his classmates and friends to help – in Wayne National Forest as he earned his Eagle Scout badge.
All Middle and Upper School students are assigned to a faculty member who serves as their advisor. Each group is made up of 10-12 students.
In Middle School, students and their advisor gather throughout the week and also eat lunch together every day all year. This small-group setting helps sustain peer interaction and provides easy access to the advisor who is ready to help address academic and social issues. Fifth grade is an incubation period when advisors and teachers give a bit more guidance to students and work on developing skills to ensure success in Middle School. Each subsequent year, students work on developing personal responsibility and to define their role in the Wellington community and in the world. Independence increases as they age, but teachers and advisors are always close by to lend a helping hand when needed.
Students discover during the adolescent years in Middle School that people have different values and viewpoints. They learn it is not necessarily about being right or wrong, and they have to figure out what it is they believe as individuals, and how they will move forward from there. Wellington advisors provide the sturdy safety net and sounding board as students figure out some of life’s bigger questions.
In Upper School, each student is assigned to a faculty advisor and is a member of an advisory group. The advisor provides academic and personal guidance. The advisor and advisee remain paired throughout Upper School. Advisors can arrange meetings with teachers; send home weekly reports for a student in serious academic difficulty; help a student decide which courses to take; act as a mediator when a student has difficulty with a teacher; and advocate for the student. Advisory group times are often a time for building problem-solving skills, discussing or debating current issues, and building community.
“The faculty as advisors is fantastic,” said Counselor Craig Jones. “The teachers have a keen awareness for where students are during this stage of development, and they are there every step of the way to support the students as they learn about the shades of gray.”
If a parent is concerned about issues related to his/her child, he or she is encouraged to talk to the child’s advisor.
|Dedicated Character Curriculum|
While character building is part of every classroom every day, The Wellington School also offers specific curriculum and extension opportunities to bolster students' skills and calibrate their attitudes. Honesty and respect are recognized values of responsible citizenship. Mutual trust depends upon truthfulness and fairness in all relationships. Wellington places great emphasis upon the development of those facets of character that are the essential ingredients of one’s integrity.
Here is a sampling of those programs:
Wellington Wise Words is a Lower School program that focuses on positive traits that homeroom teachers, special-area teachers, parents and staff refer to in their lessons and discussions with students. Through introduction, definition and use of a new Wise Word each month, students in grade Pre-K through 4th hear a consistent message during all times of the day. Words such as respect, responsibility, caring and forgiveness are Wise Words. Students have many opportunities to see and practice their Wise Words. Each teacher displays the word in his or her classroom for a visual reminder. A large bulletin board by the nurse’s station displays suggestions for how to use the Wise Word in daily life. Monthly e-mails are sent home to families with relevant discussion questions and activities to practice with students. In Guidance Class, students role play, read books and perform activities meant to integrate each word into students’ daily routine.
The Wellington School offers girls in 5th and 6th grades the opportunity to participate in OSU's Girls Circles program. Girls Circles are a curriculum offered by trained students from The Ohio State University. OSU students visit Wellington eight weeks in a row to work on different sets of issues with the same small group of Wellington girls. Together, they engage in guided discussion, creative activities and personal reflection. The themes can include: Celebrating My Individuality; Celebrating Diversity; What’s Important to Me?; Taking Time to Relax; Exploring My Goals and Dreams; Getting Along with Others; Feeling Good About Myself; and Celebrating My Personal Talents. The idea is to create an informal and nurturing environment where girls have a safe place to ask questions and talk about social behaviors, build on protective factors and improve interpersonal relationships.
Wellington 6th graders have other opportunities to develop self-esteem and learn to manage conflict both in single-gender groups and in coeducational settings. One opportunity is the Owning Up curriculum -- a structured program for teaching students to take responsibility for unethical behavior – presented by the 6th grade dean and the counselor.
Current 5th graders spent time each spring helping prepare 4th graders for all of the ways their lives will change as they move up from Lower School. The older students serve as mentors for their younger peers under the watchful eyes of the school counselors and the 5th grade dean.
The Wellington Positive Action Committee (WellPAC) was created by Wellington students in 2010 and is open to all Upper School students who want to make Wellington a better place. It is aimed at developing leadership and mentorship. The committee focuses on providing a place in which all students can voice an opinion or a problem about Wellington and elicit a positive, proactive response. WellPAC strives to set a positive example for the entire school to follow by adhering to high standards of character. WellPAC was a founding contributor to Wellington's first Mission Day in April 2011.
For five winter Fridays – ever year since our school’s inception – Wellington students in 2nd through 8th grades learn how to ski. On the ski slope, they are putting into action the habits and attitudes Wellington expects of them in the classroom and in life. They learn community-building, independence, responsibility, challenge, a lifelong sport, how to develop and discover unique potential, confidence, risk-taking and success.
At Mad River Mountain, students are responsible to bring all the items they’ll need to get through their day on the slopes. The practice responsibility by tackling questions such as: Where is my equipment? How will I store and protect my snack money? How do I wait patiently for instruction? These are community values that they practice through the skiing exercise.
Students across grade levels have a chance to interact on the mountain in ways that might not regularly happen in the classroom. Students who may be meek in the classroom may shine on skis. You may find a 7th grader who is brand new to skiing receiving advice and instruction from a 5th grader who is already a master on the slopes.
Often, Wellington faculty are right there learning on the bunny slopes next to them, so student see that learning a new skill and taking risks is a lifelong process – not something you put behind you when school ends.
During those days on the slopes, students get to play the role of mentor, leader, follower and teammate – all roles we must each play at times in life. Students of all age groups mentor each other through what is sometimes a frustrating learning curve. They celebrate when a classmate finally masters a skill. They socialize with students of different ages.
What they learn, among many real-life lessons, is that it’s good to try something new and foreign. It’s OK to fail. These are controlled risks and as they improve and gain confidence, they can apply those skills back to lessons in the classroom.
Plus, Ski Fridays are just one of several lifelong sports we expose Wellington student to through our Physical Education and wellness curriculum.
The Wellington School Board of Trustees asserts that as we achieve our goal of diversity in the fabric of our institution, every individual will have a sense of belonging and will be equipped to be tolerant and thoughtful individuals whose decisions and actions reflect the diverse, multicultural lens of their educational experience at The Wellington School.
Columbus is a community made up of caring, connected members from diverse backgrounds. At The Wellington School, celebration of diversity is part of our mission statement. We take it seriously and we actively recruit and support people of different races and ethnicities, different socioeconomic circumstances, varied sexual orientations, different religions, opposing political views, different passions and pursuits. The Wellington School reflects and represents all of these diverse populations.
|We Believe In Co-Education|
The Wellington School is the Columbus metropolitan area's first independent school founded as a coeducational learning community. Our founders believed in 1982, as we do now, that coeducation is much more than simply educating girls and boys in the same classroom.
Coeducation is woven through everything we value: celebrating the individual child, diversity, differentiated instruction, advanced course offerings for all students, alternative assessment methods, and helping our students to experience real-world environments inside and outside the classroom. These are our values at every grade level and in every division, and it guides our goal to educate the whole child.