High School Methods

Williamsburg Academy’s high school program (grades 9–12) prepares promising students for meaningful lives as principled leaders. We accomplish this through highly engaging live and self-paced classes, caring and dynamic mentors, ambitious and authentic students, and our compelling proprietary curriculum.
Our curriculum seamlessly blends emphases on leadership, the liberal arts, and technology, and includes a sequence of inspiring and popular leadership courses.

Our students perform well on the ACT and SAT, and most are admitted to the college(s) of their choice. Students can take one course from Williamsburg, or a full schedule of courses to ultimately graduate with an accredited Williamsburg diploma.

PARENT TESTIMONIALS

I have never seen my daughter more excited about learning than she has been while taking classes at Williamsburg. The mentors, projects, books, and assignments are inspiring. 

-Jennifer T., Suwanee, GA

LIVE AND SELF-PACED COURSES
Interactive & Flexible Options

In live courses, students and mentors meet together twice per week in our online classroom to discuss, debate, present, and learn together. Students can see their mentor and peers on webcam, and can participate orally and in a chat box. Live Williamsburg courses are highly interactive.

In self-paced courses, students complete learning sessions on their own. These courses have a minimum pace students must maintain, but students can move faster if they so desire. Most students take a blend of live and self-paced courses.

Female smiling student outdoors in the evening with friends

CARING AND DYNAMIC MENTORS
Building Meaningful Relationships

Mentors charged with delivering The Williamsburg Curriculum have deep and meaningful opportunities to positively influence students’ lives. Our mentors are uniquely prepared to serve and connect with students because they are highly skilled at the following six practices:

1. The Socratic Method: We ask the right kinds of questions at the right times, help students learn to ask the right questions, and nurture critical thinking.

2. Connection: We relate to, inspire, challenge, and develop personal relationships with students. We fully engage students’ minds and hearts across diverse learning styles. We help students develop meaningful relationships with each other.

3. Engaging Presentation: We use powerful hooks, visuals, stories, slides, techniques, and body language to entice learning. We deliver student-centered learning through flipping the classroom, strategically using Bloom’s taxonomy.

4. Quality Feedback: We provide specific and meaningful feedback; we demand quality; we encourage creative approaches, solutions, and alternatives.

5. Modeling: We teach skills and attributes by modeling them for students. Above all, we further our own liberal education and model exemplary lives.

6. Project-Based Learning: We use engaging simulations and hands-on projects aimed towards authentic audiences meeting real needs.

Mentors develop meaningful relationships with students in live class sessions, during mentor office hours, and through reviewing and providing feedback on students’ completed assignments. Many mentors and students also meet each other in person at Elevation, our outdoor leadership seminar.

AMBITIOUS AND AUTHENTIC STUDENTS

What are Williamsburg Students Like?

Williamsburg students are geographically diverse, joining from all  over the United States, Canada, and throughout the world. While our students come from a variety of political, religious, and philosophical perspectives, our students are united by two things:

(1) our students and their families tend to be dissatisfied with traditional public education, and most come to us from a homeschool or charter school background; and (2) Williamsburg students are deeply committed to acquiring an excellent education. Our students are inspiring, hilarious, authentic, disciplined, self-motivated, creative, crazy, and delightful.

TEST SCORES AND COLLEGE
Does Williamsburg Prepare Me for College?

Our students perform well on the ACT and/or SAT and most are accepted into the college(s) of their choice.  Students who take College Leadership receive test-taking tips and practice these exams while in that course.  The average scores our students achieve on these assessments are listed below, along with their national rankings:

  • ACT composite score:  25 (73%-tile)
  • SAT total score:  1,744 (76%-tile)

Our students have been accepted to many selective colleges, including Harvard, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical, Northwestern, Hillsdale, BYU, London School of Economics, Yale Business School, Dartmouth, Harding, Boston College, and more. 100 percent of alumni surveyed said that Williamsburg prepared them well for college.

Enjoying student life. Handsome young man working on digital tablet and smiling while lying on grass
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CURRICULUM
Our Compelling, Proprietary Curriculum

Our proprietary curriculum seamlessly blends three elements:

  1. Leadership
  2. The Liberal Arts
  3. Technology

Today’s students need to be good at leading themselves and others. They need to study the liberal arts––the great works that have shaped history, literature, art, music, mathematics, science and culture––which are the foundation of a classical education. They also need to understand technology, and be skilled at using it to communicate, create, and learn.

By weaving these elements together, we help students prepare to thrive in the modern world.

BY WEAVING THESE ELEMENTS TOGETHER, WE HELP

STUDENTS PREPARE TO THRIVE IN THE MODERN WORLD.

LEADERSHIP
Our Definition of Leadership

At Williamsburg, leadership means three things: (1) making and keeping commitments, (2) learning to manage time and energy; and (3) developing and nurturing healthy relationships. These things are simple to understand, but hard to do, so we have developed a sequence of popular leadership courses that help students learn, practice, and apply these principles of leadership to their daily lives.

Group of backpackers relaxing near campfire after a hard day, tourist background.

THE LIBERAL ARTS
Our Compelling, Proprietary Curriculum

The liberal arts are the knowledge and skills that a  person needs to become a free citizen (meaning, he understands his freedom, not that he just inherits it ignorantly). At Williamsburg we pursue the liberal arts by learning about The Great Conversation and studying some of history’s great works of literature, art, and music.

The Great Conversation is a dialogue that began in ancient history, and continues to this day––a dialogue about the most meaningful and challenging questions in life. Aristotle explored the question “what is the good life?”

There’s still a healthy debate on this topic. Shakespeare seemed to argue for moral relativity: “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” But, is that what he really meant?

In the 1600s Galileo was sentenced to house arrest for asserting that the earth revolves around the sun. He started a dialogue that sparked a new understanding of the universe, and the dawn of modern science.

Today The Great Conversation has to answer complicated questions about the morality of stem cell research, the true meaning of equality, and how to live sustainably on the earth. The Great Conversation is open to all––but there’s a price to be paid. You have to be willing to do the hard work of studying the great books, because this is where the conversation begins.

What do we mean by Great Books? They are the books that have endured through history because they grapple with timeless questions. They are classics. Of course, a book doesn’t have to be old to be great. But time sifts ideas, and those that stick from one generation to another have a special quality. Great books make us think, learn, love, and live in deeper ways; they also help us appreciate our Western heritage.

The West starts in Athens, and continues west through Europe and North America. But why a capital W? In this context, the West means the civilization that has created and conducted The Great Conversation, starting in ancient Athens, and continuing through the Middle Ages, Modernity, and today.

The thing that unites Westerners from different nations and continents is that we have been shaped by common ideas drawn from common classics. From Michelangelo’s David to Einstein’s theory of relativity, these thinkers belong to the West. No other civilization on earth has a tradition of questioning everything, and an underlying assumption that the free exchange of ideas is the path to realize our greatest human potential.

Some may criticize Westerners for being materialistic, and altering time-honored traditions and values. There is truth in this. But, the technological and social progress of the last 200 years is greater than all of history before it, and the Great Conversation continues. You just have to decide whether you’ll be part of it.

We believe that studying The Great Conversation is a critical part of appreciating the liberties we enjoy in the West, including the protection of inalienable rights, like life, liberty, property, and the freedom of speech. A core component of a liberal arts education is an understanding of our Constitutional rights, and the most common threats to these rights.

TECHNOLOGY
Technology & Education

We still need many of the same skills humans have always needed, but the way we attain these skills is changing. Have you ever sat in a math class where some students were tracking with the teacher, others were left behind, and still others were bored because they “got it” five minutes ago? We call this the lag problem. Online learning can drastically reduce, and in some cases eliminate it. For example, a student learning math can watch an instructional math video three times in a row if that’s what she needs before she understands. Or, she can skip right over the video if she already knows the skill being taught. Then, in live math classes, students and mentors can spend time applying math concepts, and learning about why math matters.

Technology can deliver effectively, change rapidly, and cater individually. Combine this with personal touch and something magical happens. And yet for the most part, educational institutions plod slowly along, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Technology has received a slow welcome in education although it has an incredible, unique potential for impact. Together with many other educational entrepreneurs, we are working to change that.

A shot of an Asian college student working on her laptop on campus