The ONE-der of Walker

Awestruck. Sitting in the front row of Coca-Cola Auditorium during the winter Town Hall meeting, I could not believe my ears. When Michael Arjona, Director of Studies, shared that the plethora of course offerings in our Upper School resulted in the fact that 95 Walker seniors have 95 unique schedules this year, it put a singular exclamation point on the evening. The theme for the town hall centered on how Walker works to meet each students’ individual needs, and it was abundantly clear that teachers work with students at every grade level based upon their individual strengths, challenges and academic interests. It is a fundamental strength of our school and the inspiration for the title of this blog.

The other major highlight of the evening was a segment featuring a quartet of charismatic and engaging Walker alumni. A 2008 graduate, currently in her final semester of law school, left an indelible imprint when she affirmed the benefit of her Walker education.

“I came to Walker in 9th grade and realized very quickly how far behind I was in comparison to the students who had been at Walker. That first semester, I got straight Cs. But I sought out teachers for extra help, received guidance from the principal, and worked really hard to improve. By my senior year, I was a straight A student. I owed it all to my teachers and their willingness to help me improve, as well as my mom, who stood behind me all the way.”

Wow. To hear about more about the unique journeys of Walker students from our alumni, current students, and teachers, I invite you to watch this video recap of the Town Hall.

The week following the Town Hall, Walker hosted renowned educational consultant, John Littleford, who has performed focus group assessments in over 250 schools – domestically and internationally. Nearly every fifth parent in our school database was invited to participate, and 76 Walker parents responded to the call. What did Mr. Littleford have to say at his feedback session?

“There are schools that feature a nurturing environment without academic challenge, and there are schools that provide academic rigor without a nurturing culture. It is rare to find a school that excels at both. Walker is one of those rare schools.”

Facilities can always be improved. Buildings can be built. Technology can be upgraded. With your help, we hope to make great strides in these important areas; still, the true Wonder of Walker is how well we balance an individualized, excellent academic program within an uplifting, loving environment where opportunities abound. In focus groups with Mr. Littleford, Walker students shared that they love that they can be an athlete, musician, and actor concurrently, moving back and forth with ease. At Walker, students have the support and encouragement to set the bar high and accomplish their goals in an environment where peers, teachers, and families sit on the edge of their
seats in excited anticipation, cheering them on.