Whittle School and Studios will be a global network of 30 Pre-school through Grade 12 schools with campuses located in the world’s most vibrant cities. The challenges and opportunities of the modern world demand a global perspective—one that exposes students to the world and provides them the language, traits, knowledge and social skills to navigate multiple cultures. The experience of students in our host cities will be a platform for understanding how communities work, integrating classroom learning with the real world, and cultivating the awareness necessary to become responsible local and global citizens.
At Whittle, we plan to anchor the global experience of Whittle students in local engagement: sending students out to study their city and other cities in our network, and rooting their learning in meaningful interactions in the world beyond the classroom. We believe that deep learning occurs best when students apply what they have learned in the classroom to answering relevant questions in the real world. It is our vision to inspire, educate, and empower students to be responsible and empathetic members of both their local and global communities.
Our global exchange programs—City Experience, Centers of Excellence, Summer Abroad and Global Rotation—will provide Middle and Upper School students the opportunity to spend a school trimester, summer or full school year in one of our 30 global campuses. Our global city curriculum will expose students in the Early Learning Center and Lower School to a Global City Toolkit, cultivating the skills, knowledge and awareness to prepare them for thoughtful and meaningful interaction with different cultures in their host city and around the world.
Whittle Global and Local Programs
Every Whittle student will have the opportunity for one or more global experiences, ranging from the immersive City Experience, a trimester (or more) in a rigorous, experiential and interdisciplinary urban studies program, to a full year of Global Rotation, or even to transfer within the Whittle network. Our robust boarding and global language programs will support a full range of choices personalized to the needs and passions of the individual student.
The global city perspective suffuses through our whole program from Pre-school onwards. By cultivating a required consistent “Global City Core Toolkit” of interdisciplinary skills across all the campuses, the City Core program will provide every Whittle School student, Pre-school through 12th Grade, with the capacity to effectively, safely and respectfully study their environment and to engage in rewarding partnerships in local communities around the world. The toolkit will build from Early Learning through High School, providing the competencies and knowledge to support increasingly ambitious and independent work in the world beyond the classroom. With this toolkit, students will be able to immerse themselves first in their local neighborhood, then their campus city, eventually moving between campuses, or collaborating virtually, to compare the experiences of different sites and develop a global perspective rooted in local experiences. Beyond Whittle, the skills and knowledge students cultivate in the city will make them happier and more capable in both college and later life. This toolkit is just the beginning of a lifelong journey to learn how to move through the city and world with empathy, insight and agency.
Highlights from the Global City Core Toolkit
Global Awareness rooted in our City Core Curriculum on “X-Day”
The City Core program applies all of a student’s skills, knowledge, and traits to the task of understanding how we live together, how we solve problems collectively, how we affect our landscape, and how it affects us. As students mature, they address increasingly complex topics and begin to engage in design, problem-solving, and collaborative service work in the city. In preschool, the City Core activities might include drawing maps of a student’s home, class, and school, and identifying parts of a neighborhood (streets, parks, home) to begin to orient them in their city. In lower school, students are introduced to urban skills building (numeracy, interviewing, city mapping, observational study) through architecture tours, transportation studies, storytelling, neighborhood research, interviews with residents, and in-class urban simulations. Middle school students build on the toolkit (through archival research, policy memos, urban orienteering, environmental analysis), exploring city physics through bridge design or car velocity analysis; urban planning and design by studying in-progress construction; policy analysis through stakeholder interviews; and cultural exploration through student-designed walking tours and scavenger hunts. Upper schoolers become active agents in the city, applying all they have learned to cultivate leadership, civic engagement, urban design, resilience planning, social entrepreneurship, community outreach, service learning, and collaboration with community partners
Beyond our required Global City Core curriculum, we also offer the following options:
Option 1: A Global Summer Abroad
The Global Summer Abroad is a first step toward a deeper global experience. Middle and Upper School students can take advantage of our boarding facilities on every campus to spend three to six weeks in a summer program designed to explore global cultures, deepen skills, pursue passions and discover new ones. Students might choose to deepen their world language mastery with a three-week language immersion program abroad. Or they might seek to explore the arts and crafts of another culture through our global arts program. They might choose to pursue a particular passion by taking a deep dive into one of our Centers of Excellence, studying Diplomacy and Peace in Washington DC, or exploring Technology Entrepreneurship in Shenzhen. For the most immersive global experience, a student might sign up for a three to six-week City Experience, exploring significant themes in global city life, such as climate change, migration, cuisine and culture, affordable housing or sustainability.
Option 2: The Global City Experience Program - Global Exchange through Local Immersion
The core Whittle global exchange program, City Experience is an interdisciplinary city immersion program for both day (local) and boarding (international) students, permitting students to engage with their peers and with cities across the Whittle network. In the Global City Experience Program, Upper School students will have the opportunity to spend a full trimester, or more, deeply studying either their host city or another city in the Whittle network, integrating all of their required disciplines through urban exploration, and sharing their discoveries across campuses. Again, students can combine their City studies with a deep dive into Centers of Excellence. Every Whittle student will have the opportunity for at least one trimester or summer of City Experience.
In 10th and 11th grade, students will have the opportunity to join the City Experience program on their home campus. This will take them out of their regular schedule, essentially providing a “trimester away, at home.” The home version of the City Experience program combines the adventure of an away program with a deep connection to a student’s home city and campus. Addressing central issues and themes in the city (sustainability, diversity, growth and change, migration, environmental justice, national culture, healthy cuisine, affordability), teacher teams lead an inquiry-based curriculum that develops skills knowledge and character through experiential and interdisciplinary projects. After one or two trimesters, students in the City Experience will rejoin the regular program at the same level at which they would have been if they had stayed.
In 11th and 12th grade students may go abroad for a Global City Experience at any of our other campuses. The City Experience is Whittle’s main Global Exchange program, permitting students to study at any of our campuses for one to three trimesters. Exchange students will join students from other campuses and from the host campus to engage in deep study of the host city, organized around important global themes, such as: sustainability, migration, diversity, affordability, resilience and social justice. Since the curricula of all City Experience programs will be coordinated, and all Whittle Upper school students will have mastered their Global City Core Toolkit, exchange students will be able to step comfortably into any of our Global City Experience programs. Each City Experience program will be taught 80% in English and 20% in the host language, permitting students to work together at a high level while deepening mastery of their second or third language. The consistent City Toolkit and coordinated curricula will permit students to engage in high-level comparisons of different cities, seeing what is similar and different across city cultures and drawing conclusions of global significance.
Option 3: Global Rotation—A Full Year Campus Exchange
Whittle students may also apply for a full year abroad at any one of our campuses, either in their home country or abroad. If they have mastered their Global City Toolkit competencies and have achieved a sufficient level of language proficiency, they will be able to spend a full year in the core program at a campus where their second or third language is spoken. They will board in that campus’ dorm and get a personal advisor to help them acclimate and succeed. Students are eligible for Global Rotation beginning in upper school.
Option 4: Transferring Campuses
Of course, many of our families will be multinational or may find their job postings change. For families moving between cities in which we have campuses, or for students who seek a deeper change and challenge, we offer the option of applying for a full transfer to another Whittle campus. Applicants for transfer will follow the standard application process, and receive preferred consideration. Full transfers will be dependent on the capacity of the campus(es) to which a student applies.
College Placement and our Global City Exchange Experience
The Whittle College Office is a full participant in the Global City Program. College Counselors will teach in the program, giving them a unique insight into its value and the best way to tell your child’s story as part of the college process. We have spoken about the Whittle Global City Program with college admissions directors and officers, and the response has been very positive—that the Global City Experiences will provide a compelling narrative of a student’s unique interests, intellectual adventurousness and willingness to think ‘outside the box.’ Indeed, while we created the Global City Program as a meaningful educational experience, such programs have the added benefit of supplying evidence of a student’s global awareness and uniqueness, and providing a compelling story for college interviews and essays. This program will be an asset to the college process for intrepid scholars and aspiring global citizens, making them stand out among other more conventional applicants.