Through the Middle School curriculum, Windward strives to reinforce the concept of community, while increasing students' understanding of diversity within a pluralistic society. We intentionally teach a comprehensive and representative history of our country and the world since certain perspectives and contributions have traditionally been left out of the historical record.
Fifth graders expand their understanding of gender by studying the role of women during the American Revolution. By researching the life of leaders such as Sybil Ludington, a teenager who rode through the woods of Putnam County to warn the Patriots that the British were coming, students learn the significant contributions made by women toward achieving the independence of America.
Through their study of Ghana, Mali, Songhai, and the City of Timbuktu, sixth grade students learn about the gold-salt trade and how the money from this trade was invested in books and learning. Sixth graders gain insight into the rich cultures and histories of these African kingdoms in order to challenge common misconceptions about the African continent.
In seventh grade, the role of women in history is broadened to include their contributions in science, literature and sports. In addition, as the social studies curriculum culminates in the Civil War, students learn of notable abolitionists who aided in the emancipation of African Americans and the beginning phases of the American society's long journey towards integration and equality.
In the eighth and ninth grades, students explore the destructive effects of discrimination throughout the history of the world as well as present day struggles. Students study tragic periods such as the Holocaust and the Jim Crow era through which they learn about the resilience of those persecuted throughout history. Also, lessons are presented on the Civil Rights movement that examine key events and important figures from the post World War II era through the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Through these areas of study, students are encouraged to think critically about the dehumanizing impact intolerance has on others.
Schoolwide presentations support the curriculum and provide students with the opportunity to develop their cultural sensitivity and awareness. In recent years, Melissa Waddy-Thibodeaux provided a captivating recreation of the journey of Harriet Tubman on the Underground Railroad, bringing to life the accomplishments of a well known figure in African American history. The Windward School community has also welcomed inspirational presenters such as decorated US Disabled Ski Team member Chris Waddell, a paraplegic individual whose goal was to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in a hand cycle. In addition, the Windward Parents Association hosts a yearly presentation entitled Dream Big, in which a speaker shares with the middle school community his or her journey towards success in spite of and sometimes as a result of his or her struggles with dyslexia.
By fostering a climate of respect and appreciation for the many facets of diversity within and beyond the Windward community, The School prepares students to become respectful global citizens.