A School That Embraces Technology Ahead of the Distance Learning Curve

On March 15, 2020 schools nationwide began shutting down. It was an unprecedented time of uncertainty, with many thinking it would only last 15 days. Parents were rightfully panicked, not only about the virus, but about managing a household with everyone home and often with two working parents. March 18, 2020 Wolcott College Prep initiated distance learning for all four high school grade levels, 9th-12th. Students didn’t know they were fortunate at that point, but Wolcott students would soon discover how fortunate they were to be picking up with teachers they had just seen the week before. Video conferencing technology was required of nearly every school; but Wolcott quickly trained faculty on the use of additional educational tech tools, such as Screencastify, Ed Puzzle, Pear Deck, Flip Grid and ActivInspire.

Wolcott had already embraced technology as part of the curriculum. The teachers and students were already accustomed to capturing key elements of the classroom work digitally and working interactively.

Dr. Miriam Pike, Head of School, explains: “technology is just part of the learning fabric.” Thoughtful technology in combination with individual learning plans are a signature part of a Wolcott College Prep education; and are supported by a Team of Learning Specialists, who regularly use a variety of technologies to help students master classwork.

“When we formed the school, we dreamed big,” Dr. Pike says. “We asked ourselves what elements would be the most helpful for high school students who were smart, clearly college bound, and wanted a traditional high school experience that would honor their inherent strengths? The answer was to hire an expert faculty, paired with integrated technology tools. Our faculty dedicates themselves to the deep study of ‘how we learn’ and they use whatever they need to get there.”

All students begin their Wolcott journey by receiving a MacBook Air (included in tuition). The idea is to use technology to empower future success. Wolcott students’ mastery of technology allows them to both embrace the technologies of the present and be prepared to adapt to those of the future.

Technology is meaningfully integrated throughout the campus and the curriculum:

  • Each classroom is equipped with an interactive board and Swivl C3 technology.
  • Faculty actively embrace digital classrooms, including posting demonstrations, recorded classroom lessons, guided notes, and assignments. 
  • Transitions to fully remote school or to support students who are at home happen quickly.
  • Media Labs have software tools for programming, graphic design, photography and web design.
  • Arts & Innovation Lab is equipped with state of the art equipment, including 3D printer, laser cutter, and X-carve equipment.

Wolcott College Prep is a premier independent school located at 524 N. Wolcott Ave in Chicago, Illinois. The school serves over 65 zip codes with over a third of the student body traveling from the suburbs. Learn more at wolcottschool.org. or Contact Rachel Spiro, Director of Admissions, 312-610-4925.