Willow scholars will love their classes.
Every Willow scholar will be academically prepared for high school, college, and career.
Willow Public School is a tuition-free charter public school for grades six and seven, where all students are welcome! At Willow Public School, scholars are at the center of the learning experience. Scholars are aware of what they are learning, why it is important, and how it fits with their personal learning goals. Through this process, scholars become self-directed learners while also developing the mindsets, behaviors, and skills for success in high school, college, and a career of their choice.
At Willow, school doesn’t happen to students. Learning happens with a purpose. Scholars know why they are learning something, how it supports their goals, and how it prepares them for life outside of the classroom. Willow scholars are academically prepared, learn with joy and purpose, and have a strong sense of who they are.
OUR PROGRAM IS BUILT ON FOUR PILLARS:
1. Thinking (Cognitive) skills: Many traditional classrooms emphasize learning content without the ability to do anything with it. At Willow, however, scholars will learn to process and apply knowledge, analyze and reason, evaluate options and make decisions. Content is meaningful because scholars get to do something meaningful with it through projects that connect the classroom to the real world. When scholars work in teams to apply what they're learning they develop strong collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills.
2. Content Skills: At Willow, we give scholars the freedom and support to move and learn at their own pace. As a result, scholars understand the consequences of their learning choices and can reflect constructively on how they can improve. Using the Summit Learning Platform, scholars learn by interacting with content in a “playlist” (consisting of videos, articles, and other information). Putting scholars in the driver’s seat in this way enables teachers to move away from a lecture-oriented classroom environment, and spend more time as a mentor and facilitator. Students then apply these content skills to projects as part of their science, math, humanities, and Spanish language classes.
3. Joy and Purpose: Ask most students in a traditional school setting why they are studying something, you will get an answer like “because the teacher told me” or “it is going to be on the test.” At Willow, scholars make a plan for success in college, career, and life. No matter what scholars want to accomplish in their lives, they need a plan to make that dream a reality. Students set and track short-term academic goals and long-term college and career goals.
Students find joy in learning because it is connected to their dreams and goals. Learning will be challenging and frustrating at times, but it will provide growth, accomplishment, and a sense of pride and joy.
Ask a student at Willow about why they are learning something, be prepared to hear purpose, joy, and intensity in their answers.
4. Emotional Intelligence: Just as a compass points us in the right direction, Willow scholars learn to find their “true north.” The Willow Compass supports scholars in developing ten habits across five disciplines: Sharp Mind (curiosity & diversity), Noble Purpose (joy & identity), Big Heart (courage & kindness), Aligned Actions (determination & integrity) and True North (balance & presence). Students learn that at any moment they can find their True North, draw upon our Noble Purpose, balance our Sharp Mind and our Big Heart, and Align our Actions to make a meaningful choices.
Willow uses the Summit Learning Platform. This tool empowers teachers to customize instruction and meet each scholar’s unique needs. It helps scholars connect their long-term goals to their daily actions. Scholars move at their own pace to learn skills, apply those skills to real-world projects, and reflect on their learning. Teachers support scholars as they set short and long-term goals, and coach them through the process.
Sixth Grade Humanities: in this course, you will journey to the Ancient World, from Egypt to Greece, and India to China. You will learn about how civilizations rise and fall, and how people lived. Projects include mummifying chickens, creating a website or infomercial for Ancient Greece, and debating your rivals from Sparta. In this class, you will also learn how stories teach about life, what makes poetry special, and what it means to have a good life. Projects include writing stories and story boards for a video, writing your own poetry or songs, and working with local businesses to display student poetry. Humanities will help you become a strong writer, reader, and historian.
Seventh Grade Humanities: in this course, you will journey to the Medieval world, from Europe and China to Africa, the Middle East, and Central America. Projects include creating an Aztec museum exhibit, debating about ancient China, and researching how the dark ages changed the lives of ordinary people in Europe and elsewhere. In this class you will also learn to distinguish fact from fiction, what makes a good story, and how ordinary people can (and do) change the world. Projects include creating a book journal for a novel you read, participating in a mock trial, and comparing films to the stories they are based on.
Sixth Grade Science: in this class, you will learn to think like a scientist, and apply the scientific method to the world around you. Projects include learning about plants and creating a school garden, inventing a device that solves a problem, and designing a building that can survive an earthquake.
Seventh Grade Science: in this class, you will learn about life sciences, from single-cell organisms to people. Projects include writing and illustrating a children’s book to teach younger kids about the human body, participating in a Socratic seminar on genetic engineering, designing a world and its ecosystems, and creating a model a matter or energy cycle.
Sixth Grade Math: in this class, you will learn about surface area and volume, ratios, fraction operations, expressions and equations, and rational numbers. Projects include creating a travel brochure advertising a vacation, designing a pool for a client, and creating a class mosaic using colored tiles.
Seventh Grade Math: in this course, you will learn about proportional relationships, properties of operations, percentages, algebraic expressions, and geometric figures. Projects include creating a scale drawing of your dream home, creating a budget for a school performance, and using statistics to help solve a community problem.
Spanish Language: in this course, you will learn Spanish through real-world situations while interacting with the rich Latino/Hispanic culture in Walla Walla. The course is for both heritage and non-native Spanish speakers. Projects include being part of the Día de Los Muertos celebration, cooking your favorite recipe and creating a video blog, interviewing Hispanic leaders in our community for our website, and writing a children’s book. When you graduate from Willow, you will be ready for advanced Spanish at the high school level.
Digital, visual, performing arts: scholars unleash their inner artist though drawing, painting, singing, website design, and more.
Soccer: The Willow soccer team will compete against other middle schools in the region. No previous soccer experience is necessary, and all students are welcome.
Music: The Willow mariachi band will give students a fun and exciting opportunity and also connect scholars to the deep and vibrant Hispanic/Latino culture in Walla Walla. Willow will also invite guest musicians from the community to work with students.
Robotics: The Willow robotics team will learn to build and program robots to compete in regional, state, and national competitions.
Filmmaking: Walla Walla might not be Hollywood, but Willow scholars will learn to write and direct short films. Students will also have the opportunity to submit their films to regional, national, and international film competitions.
Cooking: Look out Guy Fieri, Willow scholars are about to become amazing cooks! Students learn how to prepare tasty, healthy, and fun meals. This is one class where the scholars get to eat their homework!
Garden program: The garden will provide food for our breakfast and lunch programs, and for use in cooking classes. Students learn how to plant, raise, and harvest the food we eat at school.
Community service projects: to serve others is one of the highest callings in life. Students work with community groups like the Humane Society, the YWCA and YMCA, and others to make our community a better place to live.
Teachers support scholars as they set short and long term goals, and coach them through the process.