West Sound Academy Programs
The IB Program (Starting 2011)
The International Baccalaureate® (IB) is motivated by a mission to create a better world through education. The foundation has a hard-earned reputation for quality, for high standards and for pedagogical leadership. They achieve their goals by working with partners and by actively involving their stakeholders, particularly teachers. They promote intercultural understanding and respect, not as an alternative to a sense of cultural and national identity, but as an essential part of life in the 21st century.
Through a variety of outdoor experiences, West Sound Academy integrates its academic and arts curricula with the teaching of safe and comfortable living in the wilderness. It is our goal to help students toward an appreciation of nature's beauty, the interrelation of its parts, and the need for conservation, preservation and restoration of natural habitat. They evaluate their relations with others, discover the need to give and receive group support, and develop leadership capabilities.
National History Day and Extended Essay
Students in grades 6-10 participate in a long-term research project centered on the annual theme established by National History Day, a nationally recognized research contest. NHD provides over the years of a student's tenure at West Sound Academy, a series of educational building blocks that then will prepare them for the Extended Essay. The Extended Essay is a culminating project begun in the Junior Year and completing in the fall of the Senior Year. Beginning in the sixth grade each student selects a topic of study and creation that emerges from his or her personal interests, strengths, curiosity and passion. The student's general charge is to become an agile researcher and an original critical thinker in all components of the NHD projects: a substantiated research paper, a contest entry that illustrates the theme and/or argument of the overall project, and a public presentation before the student body, parents, and community members. The Extended Essay is a four thousand word esssay on any topic of the student's choice based in any subject currently taught at WSA. The project includes two separate presentations of their work and external grading by the International Baccalaureate examiners.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Our robust financial aid program has allowed us bring in a very diverse community for a school our size. Additionally, the school has recognized the importance of international students in our classrooms and has extended the financial aid program to include these students as well.
Because of our robust financial aid policy, scholarship and financial aid funding is our top need at the present time. We currently have 48% of our students receiving some form of financial aid. The financial aid cost to the school is approximately 31% of our budget or approximately $537,000 dollars.