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Academics

Fundamental to the Windward School philosophy is the belief that secondary education must engage more than the mind alone. Allowing young people to participate in a range of academic and extra-curricular experiences fosters social growth and responsibility, as well as personal development. Woven through the traditional college-preparatory courses—English language and literature, a complex social studies curriculum, mathematics, science, and foreign languages—are opportunities that enable students to be actively involved in their own education.

Windward’s comprehensive and rigorous course of study teaches students to think independently, to reason with care and logic, to write and speak with clarity, and to identify and develop their aesthetic talents. This strong academic preparation is complemented by the development of ethics, character, and people skills. The School hopes its graduates will go forth from Windward with a strong sense of personal integrity, self-confidence, and pride in their particular talents, inspired by learning, and prepared for college and for life in the twenty-first century.


At Windward, an average class contains 17 students. In academic areas, courses are sectioned on the basis of interest and ability. The minimum course load for students in grades 7-10 is six. Students in grades 11-12 may opt for an alternative program, although approval of grade-level deans is required, and students are actively encouraged to take six or seven classes.

During the course of six years at Windward, every student will complete at least six years of English language and literature, six years of history and social sciences, five years of mathematics, five years of natural sciences, five years of foreign languages, four years of fine arts and four years of physical education. Juniors and seniors may enroll in Advanced Placement classes in English, American History, European History, biology, chemistry and foreign languages. Most students will take electives that range from a History of Religions class to courses in marine biology, environmental science, art history, film & video, photography and jazz ensemble.

Community service has long been at the heart of the Windward tradition. Beginning in the Middle School, service learning is a core component of the program, and in the Upper School, students are required to complete two separate and extensive service projects prior to graduation.
A team of Windward administrators work together to create a schedule for each student that best supports his/her needs. The scheduling process begins in February when Department Chairs meet with teachers and make recommendations for course placements for the following year. 

These recommendations are collected and reviewed by the appropriate deans and counselors to determine the overall program of each student in an effort to create the ideal program for each individual.

In March, letters are sent home to parents indicating their child’s preliminary course placements for the following year. Parents and students may request course changes during this period. All preliminary course placements are reviewed in June, and any further adjustments are made. Student schedules, including the order of classes, room assignments, and teachers, are mailed home in early August and made available online, and students may request schedule changes during the first two weeks of school.