- Why WDS
- Enrichment & Athletics
- Summer Programs
It’s about the pedagogy. While progressive schools can fall along a spectrum of ideals from highly progressive to merely bringing in a few concepts of progressive education, in general there is a commitment to focusing on the unique needs of individual students, and the importance of cultivating a community of learners.
At WDS, from Nursery School to Grade 12, learning is hands-on, rooted in inquiry and problem solving, and incorporates student interests along with current events.
WDS enrolls approximately 200 students, ranging from Nursery School through Grade 12. Student-Teacher Ratio is 7:1. Average class size is 14 students.
Yes, school districts within 15 miles of the school provide busing. Those public school districts include Saugerties, Onteora, Kingston, Catskill and Rondout Valley District.
Our after-school classes are as varied as our students, catering to students inclined to vigorous activity, as well as those who prefer quieter engagement. We take advantage of our beautiful, open campus with outdoor programs. There are quiet programs like chess, cooking, and art classes, active programs like theatre and karate, archery and academic programs in STEAM.
Yes, there is a local catering service that provides healthy lunch options. There is a convenient, school-wide ordering form that families can fill out.
The school day is about fully engaging with learning, and when students are at home, there needs to be ample time to relax and connect with family. Starting in 4th grade, our teachers do assign regular homework, that is meaningful and necessary to support learning.
Yes, we have teams for Middle and Upper School. The sports program reflects our values. The goal of each team is to be competitive with similar schools by focusing on improving the skills of each individual, and building community amongst the team rather than being strictly focused on winning. Everyone makes the team.
In general, education is challenging. We have four separate divisions that focus on the particular age group that they serve. But we are also mindful of the ‘end-to-end education’ that we provide. We begin writers workshop in kindergarten, and watch as our seniors craft excellent written pieces for their senior project. So we understand taking a long-term view.
Taking care of the environment is a natural part of life at WDS. Every room has recycling bins, a new school-wide composting program was initiated in 2018 and every student helps with gardening and campus cleanup. Students study conservation of resources both formally–through Science and Geography classes–and informally, by turning off lights, not over-filling water bottles, etc.
Within each classroom, our teachers create an atmosphere of respect and inclusion. Even in our youngest classrooms, children are taught the needed skills to manage conflict and express themselves. We understand the importance of social and emotional learning. But even so, issues can arise. We approach difficult situations with open lines of communication and transparency.
The school is accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) and the New York State Education Department.