The Windward School Welcomed First Lady of France, Mrs. Brigitte Macron, to its Manhattan Campus

Joined by the French Ambassador to the U.S. and Consul General of France, Mrs. Macron observed Windward’s successful instructional practices for supporting students with language-based learning disabilities

Yesterday afternoon, Mrs. Brigitte Macron, the First Lady of France, made an unannounced visit to a class of students at The Windward School on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in New York City. Accompanying Mrs. Macron was Mr. Philippe Etienne, French Ambassador to the United States; Ms. Anne-Claire Legendre, Consul General of France; and Mrs. Christine Schwarzman, former Windward parent and trustee of The Windward School.

After being greeted upon arrival by Windward’s Head of School Jamie Williamson and Dr. John J. Russell, Executive Director of The Windward Institute, the special guests visited the fifth-grade language arts classroom of Ms. Colleen McGlynn, where they observed students receiving explicit, direct instruction and a sequentially delivered decoding skills lesson.

In addition to receiving a comprehensive education founded on a proven, research-based curriculum, Windward students engage in three language arts periods every day to accomplish the school’s goal of remediating their language-based learning disabilities, like dyslexia, and returning them to mainstream schools. 98 percent of Windward students return to mainstream schools and classrooms upon completing the school’s program.

Following the classroom visit, Mrs. Macron attended a presentation and discussion on the proven results of a Windward education, which highlighted fourteen years of data proving the efficacy of Windward’s academic program. The First Lady of France, a former schoolteacher who recently announced she will be returning to the classroom to help young adults, was impressed by the presentation. “Everything depends on your reading skills,” she explained.

Denis J. O’Leary, III―a Windward alumnus and current trustee who also joined for the afternoon visit―could not agree more and is a testament to that statement. “I think of life as ‘before Windward’ and ‘after Windward.’ Before coming to Windward, I couldn’t read at all,” he said. After several years of instruction, Mr. O’Leary returned to a mainstream school and is now finishing two graduate degrees at Harvard University.

“We are extremely honored that Mrs. Macron, Mr. Etienne, Ms. Legendre, and Mrs. Schwarzman could visit Windward and see our language arts program in action,” said Mr. Jamie Williamson, Head of School. “The success of the Windward academic program is a combination of expertly well-trained and passionate teachers and an instructional program created to help students with language-based learning disabilities succeed. In sharing our successes with influential and dedicated leaders, we hope to provide ideas and inspiration for educators and students from around the world.”

The Windward School is committed to sharing its knowledge of dyslexia and language-based learning disabilities with the wider education community, and yesterday’s visit is an extension of this decades-long pursuit. In 1988, the school founded The Windward Teacher Training Institute (WTTI) to provide professional development based on scientifically validated research and offer workshops and lectures addressing a broad range of topics appropriate for both mainstream and remedial educational settings. The WTTI has grown into a nationally recognized training center with over 1500 professionals participating in its programs each year, not only in the New York metro area, but around the world through video conferencing and on-site visits from teams of educators.