Following-up The Greenwood School‘s announcement of their expansion to include a full high school program, Greenwood headmaster, Stewart Miller spoke with us about the opportunities and motivations behind Greenwood’s growth.
Brian Fisher (BF): What’s the impetus behind growing to include a high school? Does Greenwood just work better for some kids to have a consistent Greenwood environment 9-12?
Stewart Miller (SM): For years Greenwood families and Educational Consultants encouraged us to extend our program into the high school grades. With a small nurturing community of 50 boys, a 2:1 student teacher ratio, high level of personalized programming, integrated educational therapies (Occupational Therapy, Social Pragmatics, Speech and Language), and innovative assistive technologies, Greenwood is unique.
For boys who are seeking an alternative to a traditional high school, or who are looking for intensive programming to gain needed skills and confidence to successfully transition to a traditional high school, Greenwood is an excellent option.
BF: Why is the time to establish a high school program ‘right’ now?
SM: The encouragement from Educational Consultants and current families to expand programming has never been more robust.
Now, with the construction of our new cottage dormitory, we have the facilities that provide us the flexibility to effectively program for the developmental range of students that is necessary when considering an expansion into a high school. We have added life-skills programs that foster independence in ways we could only dream of doing before the new dormitory.
For example, our older students learn to wash, dry and fold laundry, learn to cook, are responsible for cleaning their common room, and have opportunities to earn freedoms and responsibilities. We are also exploring different off-campus internship opportunities for our 10th graders.
BF: What will be the ‘Greenwood Advantage’ for boys as they work through their high school years and earn a Greenwood diploma?
SM: We see the advantages being the alternative we offer to more traditional high school experiences. Greenwood high school students are young men who are happy in a smaller environment, who could benefit from a high degree of individual programming including speech and language, social pragmatics, and/or occupational therapy, who want to grow without the typical pressures of high school.
BF: What’s been the most challenging part of making these changes?
SM: The biggest challenge has been to shift our thinking from that of a middle school culture to that of creating and including a high school culture. Fundamentally, this means taking an approach of educating students instead of restricting their access to certain freedoms and responsibilities like allowing student cell phones, access to social media, and increased availability of interaction with the internet. It means seeking new ways to foster independence. We see this as a positive, pedagogically–driven evolution of our programming.