Whitfield School is an independent, coeducational college preparatory day school for grades 6–12, located on a 26–acre campus in suburban St. Louis. Whitfield cultivates ethical, confident, and successful students in a community of innovation, collaboration, and trust.
A rigorous curriculum provides a vital liberal arts education, and electives allow students to pursue interests in science, language, humanities, and art. The school's demanding academic program, which includes eight advanced placement courses, coupled with the support of a dedicated, world-class faculty, prepares graduates for both the college experience and life beyond.
With an average class size of 14 and a school size of approximately 440, Whitfield has a close-knit academic environment where each student's strengths are known and cultivated. Students are encouraged to participate in visual and performing arts, 20 athletic teams, 24 clubs and organizations, and community service.
The Whitfield School experience is about growth - in the strength of character, scholarship, and citizenship - and our commitment is to provide your child with the best preparation for the 21st century's challenges. A glance at today's headlines (or even out the nearest window.) will confirm how rapidly our world is evolving. Today's graduates must negotiate a new global reality in science and technology, business and economics, and in relationships, both interpersonal and international. Together we face a fascinating challenge, and education has had a hard time keeping up.
In this dizzying atmosphere, the key to success, for individuals and schools, is twofold: RESPECT for the wisdom that forged our society and government in the first place and OPENNESS to new ideas and ways of being. We have to know where we're coming from, but we must also be flexible, collaborative, light on our feet, "undefensive," and quick thinking. We need to admit that the knowledge explosion of the last 20 years has changed everything and then explore the meaning of that momentous change. If the aim of education in a bygone era was to find "the right answer," today's goal is much more about asking the right questions and knowing where to look to satisfy them. And in today's marketplace of ideas knowing how to package and communicate one's findings effectively has become as important as the findings themselves.
The good news is that we have discovered so much in the last generation about how students learn best, and at Whitfield, you will find a faculty and a culture attuned to this body of knowledge. The path to becoming an educated person must always be rigorous - nothing of value is achieved without great effort - but now we know that learning is also greatly enhanced in an atmosphere of partnership, genuine intellectual curiosity, and joy. Now we know that the teacher model as coach and mentor far surpasses the ineffectiveness of the "sage on the stage" and that an overemphasis on grades, test scores, and competition can short circuit authentic academic achievement. We have learned that proficiency in a foreign language will open life-changing doors. And we have established beyond any question that a rich experience of the arts and athletics - areas of particular strength at Whitfield - will contribute to a lifetime of enhanced purpose and satisfaction. The research is compelling.
Whitfield's mission statement functions as a real-life guide to our everyday practice. We start with "ethical" because good character is the cornerstone of everything we teach—in the classroom, on the playing field, in our halls. Today's high-tech students are connected and empowered in ways previously undreamed of, and it matters deeply that they understand their moral obligations to self, family, and community.
Our job is to prepare students to reach their highest personal and academic goals and pave the way for future growth. For one student, that may mean an in-depth grounding in the sciences, for another fluency in a foreign language, for yet another early admission to a premier college program. Ultimately, success is the right academic skills and personal qualities, like perseverance and compassion. This kind of preparation is only possible in a close-knit academic environment where each child's strengths are known and cultivated.
To prepare students for a world undergoing enormous change, we must both honor the legacy of traditional education and recognize the importance of innovative thinking. Every course at Whitfield is designed to address essential questions that reflect the needs and realities of the 21st century while also building excellent academic skills. To strengthen the learning process, we employ project-based instruction wherever appropriate and a variety of assessment strategies. Whitfield's commitment to instructional technology also serves as a powerful catalyst to innovation and has received national acclaim along the way.
A collaborative school environment enhances academic achievement. We gain essential insight from others' perspectives and do our best to work in a supportive atmosphere where risk-taking is encouraged. Collaboration—among students and between students and faculty—is also the practical expression of Whitfield's commitment to the community. If trust is the glue that holds us together, then working together, in the classroom or art studio, on an athletic team, or in a myriad of student activities, is how we express that idea.