Woodstock | Curriculum
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Curriculum

Woodstock School is a Community of Learners

 

Students and staff grow together as they experience our unique location and the diverse cultures and gifts of our community. They develop an attitude of open enquiry which lasts a lifetime.

 

Woodstock offers a K-12, college-preparatory academic programme that culminates in an American High School Diploma. External examinations include the UK Cambridge IGCSE at Grade 10 and the US College Board Advanced Placement Examinations in Grades 11 and 12.

 

In December of 2016, Woodstock School made the decision to adopt the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme and Diploma Programme. Following a phased implementation approach, Woodstock will offer the IB’s Middle Years Programme (MYP) in Grades 6-8 from July 2017. Pending full authorization from the IB, the Woodstock Class of 2021 will be the first cohort of students to graduate with both the American High School Diploma and the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Students graduating in the Class of 2018, 2019 and 2020 will be unaffected by this change.

 

Woodstock’s capital ‘C’ curriculum is broadly defined, including academics, enrichment, and residential life. It is our belief that those students who participate fully in holistic learning are best prepared to live meaningful, successful lives, and are equipped to make significant contributions to the world around them. Woodstock’s educational philosophy is based on the belief that greatness resides within each and every student.

 

Each person has a unique combination of interpersonal, linguistic, mathematical, musical, artistic, kinaesthetic and naturalist ‘intelligences’. Woodstock’s broad and balanced curriculum allows students to find, express and develop these intelligences equally in academic courses, in residential life and in enrichment experiences.

 

In keeping with this approach, our learning outcomes for the whole community are broad and challenging.

Woodstock School Curriculum Guide 2015
Woodstock School Parent and Student Handbook 2014
Maths and Science
  • TARUN SETH, Head of Mathematics

    TARUN SETH, Head of Mathematics

    Tarun Seth returned to Woodstock as Head of Math in 2017. He has more than 19 years' teaching experience, including 14 years at the Scinida School, Madhya Pradesh, and two years at Woodstock. A former Fullbright Scholar, Round Square project leader and expeditioner, Mr Seth’s ride ranging accomplishments are a perfect fit with Woodstock’s holistic educational philosophy.

  • Stephen Anderson, Head of Science

    Stephen Anderson, Head of Science

    Stephen Anderson returned to Woodstock from his native New Zealand in 2017, having previously taught science here. He became Head of Science in 2017. In 2017 he joined a group of students to CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland.

Mathematics

 

At Woodstock we believe that the study of Mathematics is an integral part of education, relevant to all students, and possessing the potential to enrich any endeavour. Woodstock teachers use technology and innovative practices in a rigorous curriculum to equip students for success in their studies. Woodstock students learn critical-thinking skills and explore the merits and limitations of technology in Mathematics, employing graphing calculators and computers in certain explorations. Advanced high-school classes require the use of a graphing calculator.

 

Examinations offered: IGCSE Mathematics; AP Statistics, Calculus AB, Calculus BC

 

Science

 

Science is at the core of education policy worldwide; the skills of knowledge acquisition, understanding, problem-solving and data-handling that it imparts are recognised in all areas outside the purely scientific as valuable and worthwhile. Science provides the theoretical framework that technologists use – and have used – to drive the information revolution that we are still experiencing and that has built the foundations of all modern engineering, medicine and agriculture. It is widely recognised that the world needs more and better-trained scientists, and this is what we strive to develop in the Woodstock Science faculty. Our teaching combines aspects of the traditional expository style with practical experimentation, co-operative learning and student-centred approaches.

 

Examinations offered: IGCSE Biology, Chemistry, Physics; AP Biology, Chemistry, Physics B, Physics C, Environmental Science

English and Modern Languages
  • Andrew Plonka, Head of English

    Andrew Plonka, Head of English

    With an 18-year career in international schools in Mexico, India, Japan, South Korea, the UK and the USA, and as a former journalist, Andrew Plonka brings considerable experience and expertise to this role. From 2008 to 2012, he taught English at Woodstock and was also Head of Senior School for a time. He returned to Woodstock in 2016 and became Head of English in 2017.

  • John Robertson, Head of Languages

    John Robertson, Head of Languages

    Raised in Canada, John has taught English as a Second Language for 11 years, working in countries including China, England, Tibet and Nepal. He believes maintenance of students’ first languages are central to a secure identity, cognitive development and second-language acquisition, and that a second language should not be a replacement for the first.

English

 

The English curriculum provides a sequenced plan of study for Grades 9-12. The faculty systematically builds students’ skills in reading comprehension, writing, grammar, speaking, listening and critical thinking. Each year includes study of Indian literature and Shakespeare. Completion of the Woodstock English programme builds oral and written communication skills, as well as the analytical skills necessary for university work.

 

Examinations offered: IGCSE English; AP Language and Composition; AP Literature and Composition

 

Modern Languages

 

The Woodstock curriculum requires students to learn Hindi from KG to Grade 7, after which they are given a choice to either continue with Hindi or to take up another language; we currently offer French and Spanish. Classes are generally taught by native speakers. Emphasis is placed on developing the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing through the most real-life situations possible using role-play, discussions, listening to and reading authentic documents, and the exchange of ideas. Classes require active participation from each student. There are also options to study Mandarin and Arabic online.

 

Examinations offered: IGCSE and AP French; IGCSE Hindi

Visual and Performing Arts
  • Curran Russell, Head of Drama

    Curran Russell, Head of Drama

    Curran Russell originally hails from Maine in the US, where he grew up performing in regional theatres. Over time, this taste for being on stage morphed into a desire to teach and share the experience with future generations.

  • Nandakumar, Head of Art

    Nandakumar, Head of Art

    Nandakumar has a Master’s degree in sculpture and has been teaching art to different age groups for the last 20 years. He has taught both Indian and international curriculum and prepared students for universities. Nandakumar is a lifelong practitioner of art and installation and mixed media sculptures are his preferred medium.

  • Ravi Arthur, Head of Music

    Ravi Arthur, Head of Music

    Ravi Arthur hails from Bengaluru. Before joining Woodstock in July 1990, he taught Music, performed at concerts and did studio recordings, and composed for audio-visuals and commercials.

Drama

 

As well as being an academic discipline, students can engage in Drama purely as an interest. Parker Hall, the school’s main auditorium, provides an excellent location for school productions. As well as taking acting roles, students have the opportunity to develop and use their skills in lighting, sound, set building, costuming, house management, props and direction. Recent productions have included Brigadoon by Lerner and Loewe; Around the World in 80 Days adapted by Dan Brown; an original adaptation of Kipling’s Just So Stories; Check Please by Jonathan Rand; Macbeth by Shakespeare; Thornton Wilder’s Our Town; and occasional sets of one-act plays.

 

Examinations offered: IGCSE Drama

 

Art

 

Whether you’re pursuing a career as a professional artist, architect, graphic designer or any other art-related profession, or simply looking to broaden your appreciation of art, the Art Programme at Woodstock has something for everyone. The Senior School Art classroom enjoys one of the best locations on the Woodstock campus, with views thousands of feet down to the Doon valley below; it’s an easy place to be inspired. Diverse entry-level courses establish a broad base of knowledge, building towards our Junior and Senior Studio classes that prepare our students for the finest Art and Design schools in the world. Throughout the semester, students are exposed to art shows, field trips, guest lecturers, and artists-in-residence.

 

Examinations offered: AP Studio Art

 

Music

 

Woodstock is renowned for the strength and depth of its Music Programme. Woodstock students have many opportunities to learn and grow in their musicianship through our classroom music courses, performance ensembles and private instruction. The Advanced Band, Advanced Orchestra and Senior School Choir are the three cores around which the Music Department revolves. Out of these ensembles radiate the other ensembles, including four levels of string ensemble, three levels of band, three choirs of progressive levels, jazz band, jazz combos and chamber groups. Private lessons and the ABRSM examination programme [External Link] feed the quality of the ensembles by preparing strong musicians. Frequent recitals encourage performance from an early stage of expertise. Expert individual instruction is available for piano, strings, brass, woodwind, percussion, voice, classical guitar and Indian classical instruments. Visiting performers often hold master classes within many of these disciplines throughout the school year.

 

Disciplines offered: Western Classical Guitar, Stringed Instruments, Singing, Piano, Band, Indian Classical and Classroom Music

Physical Education, Health Sciences and Outdoor Education
  • Steve Luukkonen, Head of PE and Health

    Steve Luukkonen, Head of PE and Health

    'Movement, fun, and body knowledge are words that describe my classes.' Steve inspires his PE students to find that same passion for a physically active lifestyle that he follows. 'When I'm not inside the classroom, I try to be outdoors; I enjoy hiking, biking and running.'

  • Nathan Rector, Head of Outdoor Education

    Nathan Rector, Head of Outdoor Education

    Nathan has worked in outdoor education for 12 years. He completed his Master’s degree at Stephen F. Austin State University while running the Outdoor Recreation Program as graduate assistant. He then became a field instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School leading extended expeditions, and served as the Coordinator for Iowa State University Outdoor Program.

The outdoor environment and Himalayan setting of Woodstock School ensure that the students constantly remain active and fit. Nevertheless, the school’s Department of Physical Education (PE) has been designed to offer opportunities to students of all levels to participate in sports, fitness and outdoor activities.

 

Physical Education and Health

 

These areas are taught as classes to students in Grades 9 and 10. The courses use sports as the principal medium to help develop the self-esteem of each student. Other aims are to prepare students to be responsible for their continued physical fitness and to develop skills that will be valuable in the positive use of leisure time. The PE Programme centres around Woodstock’s impressive sports facility, the Win Mumby Gymnasium, which was opened in September 2009, since when it has become an integral part of the daily life of Woodstock students and staff.

 

Examinations offered: IGCSE Physical Education

 

Outdoor Education

 

Outdoor Education is not a course in its own right, but more an approach to learning and teaching across the academic and enrichment programmes. Our Himalayan location is the perfect extension of any indoor classroom, containing authentic learning circumstances that challenge students beyond the four walls of a schoolroom. The outdoors is used as a stimulus for learning, a way to bring academic subject areas to life, while also providing an environment conducive to physical challenges designed to promote personal and social growth.

Social Studies and Religious Education
  • Bob Smith, Head of Social Studies

    Bob Smith, Head of Social Studies

    Bob Smith graduated from the University of California with a BA in History and received his teaching credential from California State University. He has a passion for teaching and learning, and has taught from elementary level to high school. Bob has been involved with IB Programmes as an administrator, coordinator and teacher.

Social Studies

 

Through facilitating the study of geography and global issues, history, politics and economics, the Social Studies Department helps students understand personal, national and international issues with the intent of producing competent, reflective and responsible global citizens. To enhance the interest of the students in the various subjects, a variety of teaching methods are used, incorporating technology, research papers, essays, debates, field trips, tests, quizzes and lecture-discussions. The involvement of Grade 7 in the Model United Nations (MUN) along with Grades 9-12 is a special feature of the Social Studies syllabus.
Examinations offered: IGCSE History; AP World History, US History, European History, Psychology, Comparative Government and Politics, Macro-economics, Micro-economics

Religious Education

 

We consider the education of the whole person to be of vital importance, and this includes spiritual and moral education. During the Middle Years, our focus is on the Judaeo-Christian roots of Woodstock. Students learn through interactive activities both inside the classroom and in the wider environment. Field trips include visits to local churches, mosques and temples. Regular weekend retreats are offered, both as part of the curriculum and as voluntary activities. There is a very positive feel to RE at Woodstock, where we believe that we are offering a well-rounded curriculum to our students that will enable them to be spiritually articulate as they grow up.

English as a Second Language
  • John Robertson, Head of English as a Second Language

    John Robertson, Head of English as a Second Language

    Raised in Canada, John has taught English as a Second Language for 11 years, working in countries including China, England, Tibet and Nepal. He believes maintenance of students’ first languages are central to a secure identity, cognitive development and second-language acquisition, and that a second language should not be a replacement for the first.

English as a Second Language

 

Woodstock welcomes students from around the world. This cultural and linguistic diversity provides unique opportunities for all the students at the school. In particular, the ESL Programme has been designed to help students who have English as a second or additional language to access a Woodstock education. Our aim is to help students develop English skills that will allow them to be successful in their academic work and confident in everyday communication. Find out more about our ESL Programme here.