The Windward School's academic program focuses on three basic challenges faced by all students who learn differently:
- acquiring the academic strategies and skills necessary to reach their academic potential,
- developing self-confidence in their ability to achieve success,
- understanding their learning differences so they can become effective self-advocates.
Students are encouraged to take ownership of their learning and define themselves by their character and by their accomplishments, not by their learning disabilities. Most Windward students spend 3-5 years at the Windward School, and 98% of Windward students place out into mainstream schools. Our students matriculate into a broad range of schools that report back to us that two years after leaving Windward, 98% of Windward alumni are performing at or above grade level.
Reading, writing, and the content subjects are taught with a strong emphasis on language competence, skill development, and cognitive strategy. Students are grouped within their grade level according to their levels of development in language arts and mathematics. There are usually two teachers and rarely more than twelve students in each academic classroom; this provides maximum time for direct instruction by highly trained teachers and helps students achieve success. Since students progress at different rates; progress is monitored continually; academic groups are flexible; and students move among groups as their skills develop. Students are grouped heterogeneously in other content areas and special area subjects.
In addition, all students enjoy regular periods of physical education, library, and art. Music is a weekly part of the lower school schedule and an optional extra-curricular in the middle school. Computer classes for keyboarding and word processing begin in the fourth grade. Students in grade 8 take a course called GAINS, an acronym for Getting Ahead in School, to help them examine their learning strengths and weaknesses so they can become more effective advocates for themselves.