The program provides resources and support for academic and personal growth.
Students at Wayland Academy have better access to goal-setting and mental health resources, expertise, and supplies, thanks to a grant secured through the State of Wisconsin’s Equitable Recovery Program.
Wayland, an international boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12, received just under $1 million in funds to launch its Student Success Program–an initiative that has already seen its own success this school year.
Wayland hired three new faculty members with the grant, who have worked together to create programming for students such as peer-led academic tutoring, evening study support, life skills development, and workshops on mental health and wellness.
Director of Student Success Tara Stewart moved to Beaver Dam from Pennsylvania in July to take on the new leadership role, and she emphasized that each student plays an active role in creating and modifying their own personalized learning plan.
“I’ve had the opportunity to meet with more than 150 impressive students, one-on-one, and hear about what they want to accomplish in the short term, as well as long term,” she said. “Wayland students have some big goals, and I’m here to support whatever those might be.”
Stewart helps teens practice setting their own SMART goals: ones that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Parents are sent weekly updates on their student’s progress, but it’s the students who are responsible for identifying their academic and personal goals, establishing a timeline, and modifying their goals as necessary.
“While academic goals can be more easily tracked by faculty, students have outlined their own desires to learn a new language, strengthen a relationship, try a new sport, develop healthy study habits, or manage their time better,” she said.
Seth Ahlborn, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Innovation, says goal-setting and emotional learning are just some of the many lifelong skills that students develop while at Wayland.
“Our job as an academy is to prepare students for whatever’s next for them—and this goes beyond academics,” he said. “Knowing how to set attainable goals, break them down into smaller wins, and make progress are lifelong skills vital to anyone’s personal growth, no matter their age. And in order to truly succeed, students need to have the confidence in themselves and the support from people around them.”
As a boarding school, Wayland hosts students from 25 different countries in any given school year. In addition to teaching, faculty at Wayland are responsible for supervising the dorms and dining hall, hosting social activities, mentoring students, and more.
“With the majority of our students living in the dorms (some being thousands of miles away from their families), the relationships we have with them go well beyond our classrooms and athletic venues,” Ahlborn said. “It is an essential part of our opportunity as faculty and role models to help shape them into the well-rounded global citizens they are becoming.”
The Equitable Recovery Program assists organizations that provide services or programs aimed at increasing equity and eliminating disparities in health, early childhood development, education, economic support, housing, and environmental justice in communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to launching the Student Success Program, the grant has expanded access to mental health resources on campus. Students can now visit the health center to be screened for anxiety, depression, and other disorders. The school partners with Church Health Services in Beaver Dam to provide students access to licensed counselors and therapists without having to leave campus.
“The challenges associated with educating young people, in the aftermath of the pandemic are well documented,” said Head of School Jason Warnick. “The Student Success Program aims to serve all Wayland students, as well as students across Beaver Dam, Dodge County, and communities throughout the state. This grant will increase access to support through programing offered through Wayland—on and off campus, and during the summer. The team facilitating this program at Wayland is amazing, and we are already seeing results.”
To read the Daily Citizen article, visit: wiscnews.com/community/bdc/wayland-works-at-bettering-students-lives-with-help-of-1-million-state-grant