By Natalie P. ’23 and Lauren H. ’23
After a long second semester of distance learning, you’re looking forward to the end of the school year. However, as June rolls around, you realize that all of your original summer plans have been canceled. Now, you’re unsure of what you’re going to do for the next eighty days. Bored, irritated, and tired of quarantine, you’re about to give in and watch all the seasons of The Office again when–WAIT! An email appears in your inbox. Ms. Bub has thrown you a lifeline. Welcome to Summer@Winsor!
Summer@Winsor is an optional, tuition-free online summer program run by The Winsor School. The courses are open to all current and incoming students. All interested students can sign up for courses offered to their grade level from an extensive catalog. Students can also choose to attend two-week or four-week sessions held between July 6 and August 14. The instructors for the courses are volunteer Winsor faculty, staff, and alumnae.
All of the meetings will be held over Zoom, and students will also be given assignments to complete asynchronously. While some classes will equip students with helpful skills for the following school year, most of the offerings are purely meant for enjoyment during the summer. Since Summer@Winsor is not mandatory, grades will not be assigned. The teachers will still be providing their students with consistent feedback. Upper School students who choose to sign up for Summer@Winsor should expect to dedicate five to seven hours of their weekly schedule to engage in their classes. Synchronous meetings will be spaced throughout the day with breaks in between classes so that students do not feel overwhelmed and can pursue other activities.
Choosing which classes to take from the loaded course catalog may seem daunting, but luckily, students are given the opportunity to choose not just one, but multiple classes to participate in if they so desire. With offerings in all subjects, as well as Fitness and Athletics, Wellness and Leadership, and Life Skills, students will find it very hard to be disengaged from their studies for the next couple of months.
We have had the absolute pleasure of interviewing the director of studies at Winsor, Ms. Labieniec, who has ensured that these academic courses are fun and engaging summer classes. Ms. Pelmas and Ms. Labieniec envisioned “a place where fun, enriching activities could happen for students in a low-stakes environment while still providing opportunities for enrichment and intellectual engagement.” With the dawn of COVID-19, students have felt more isolated than ever, so these summer opportunities to stay connected with peers and classmates have been a blessing. The teachers are just as excited to be involved in the summer online courses, as “faculty can experiment with an innovative curriculum and try new approaches to teaching.” While some teachers are known for their incredible academic knowledge, other teachers are showcasing new talents and skills. Ms. Burke, for example, is sharing her love of and talent for cooking in a class.
All teachers have been invited to propose new courses for the summer, and as previously mentioned, Winsor is offering dozens of fascinating and enriching classes. Even students “may become teaching-assistants.” Who would not want to help Mr. Didier teach witchcraft? Through a relaxed setting, Ms. Labieniec hopes that students will be able to find or develop existing passions, as well as, engage in “skill-building refreshers.” Although summer courses are an alternative to many summer options that were cancelled due to the coronavirus, this program is not necessarily a one-time wonder. Depending on student reviews, Ms. Labieniec has excitedly hinted that these summer courses may continue “in the future.”