Our Mission and Vision
West End Secondary School empowers students to achieve at the highest level by cultivating their innate curiosity and nurturing their natural ability to wonder and create. The single most important key to the acquisition of knowledge is this: to what extent does the student’s self-reliance play a part? In other words, has the student been provided with the opportunity to make connections and synthesize topics independently of the teacher? WESS envisions our classrooms to be a safe context in which students can work through problems with guidance and the necessary supports to arrive at their own true discovery. The delight that characterizes the moment when one reaches an understanding, arrives at the derivation of a formula, or acknowledges the connection between a math problem and its application to engineering are extraordinary moments in a student’s development. These accomplishments are most memorably achieved and valued when a student ventures into this territory as a result of carefully planned learning experiences that place the teacher as the facilitator of learning. WESS emphasizes the central role that the student plays in his or her own learning process, understanding that students learn best when they discern the value in learning and enjoy getting there. Graduates will leave WESS equipped to confront new challenges with confidence and an inner reserve of fortitude that naturally arises from conquering material that at one time seemed too complicated. In emphasizing creativity, discovery, and resilience, WESS ensures that every child will develop the capacity to serve as this city’s intellectual ambassador into the future, and in a manner that is compatible with true compassion.
“I can imagine that the middle school experience isn’t one that high school students think back on fondly or one that adults look back on with nostalgia. However, it changed my life. Mr. Kevin, my CREW teacher, and Ms. Jessica, my principal, molded me. On the last day of school, I remember telling her that I didn’t want to lose contact with her. She assured me, like anyone would to a crying teenager, that we wouldn’t. Nevertheless, I knew that when I walked off that day, we’d always be in touch and to this day, we are. Every once in a while, I’ll take a picture of my grades and send them along. Not surprisingly, she responds just as excitedly as she did four years ago and strategically adds in her subtle reminder that I am ivy-league bound.”
- Excerpt from Melissa Simonsen's college essay, member of Marsh Avenue Expeditionary Learning School's 1st graduating class