As defined in our WPS Literacy Development Plan, the ultimate goal of teaching and learning in the Humanities Department is to help students build a passion for reading and writing texts that they love. The love of reading and writing comes from acquiring strong foundational skills that build confidence and encourage students to expand their horizons through literary discovery. Our department shares a common belief with literacy experts that the four key components of strong readers and writers include knowledge of words and parts of words, oral reading fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary acquisition. As such, we make an extra effort to build student competency around these components. Families can see this in some of the programs and assessments that we infuse into our core curriculum, such as Open Court Foundational Skills for K-2 and Words Their Way for 3-5 (word study), Benchmark Assessment System for K-5 (fluency and comprehension), Easy CBM for K-8 (all four areas), and the Common Lit Assessment Suite for 9-12 (comprehension).
We also feel that it is important to address culturally and historically responsive literacy instruction through our book selections and unit concepts. In all grades, students are encouraged to select texts that appeal to them by means of our classroom libraries and book club activities. We are in the process of strengthening and broadening our literary offerings to include many more options written by authors with racial, ethnic, gender, and cultural diversity. The Windsor Public Schools’ curriculum for Humanities provides inroads for students to explore their identities, build their skills and scholarship by means of the Connecticut Core Standards, as well as study texts with a critical eye. In social studies and history, in particular, students are asked to assess the quality and validity of texts through the inquiry process. The Humanities Department works closely with the Library Media Specialists to provide students with an access to a wide range of texts and research materials, as well as to help students build their ability to be fully literate in all types of media, both print and digital. In grades 6-12, we also provide instruction in three languages- Spanish, French, and Latin- to encourage students to apply their literacy skills into other realms. For those students who are developing their skills in English language proficiency, we also have a complete EL program in grades K-12.
Fine and Performing Arts
Windsor Public Schools is proud to offer a robust Art and Music education program from K-12. Students in all grades have access to art and music classes that build in complexity throughout their years of schooling. At the elementary level, all students participate in general Art and Music classes; beginning in grade 2, students can begin to specialize in lessons with stringed instruments. As students enter intermediate school, they can also select band and choral classes. Our programs in K-8 prepare students for the vast number of advanced offerings at Windsor High School in both Art and Music. In Art, high school students can choose from a variety of 2D and 3D courses, such as Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Jewelry Design, and Ceramics. UCONN ECE credit courses, Pre-Advanced Placement (AP) and AP courses are available. You can learn more by visiting the WHS Art Department Website. In Music, Windsor High School offers a full spectrum of highly specialized options such as Gospel Choir, Jazz Band, Marching Band, Orchestra, Recording Techniques, and Stage Craft.
Our high school art and music programs are highly prolific and are the recipients of numerous awards and scholarships. In recent years, our Advanced Placement Art students have repeatedly earned a 100% pass rate on the Advanced Placement exams. Along with our 100% pass rate in our UCONN ECE Drawing course, many of our students graduate with six college credits that they are able to transfer to their future university. Art students have annually earned impressive scholarships to post-secondary art institutions that in 2020 averaged more than $100,000 per student for their portfolios. Our award winning choral program is highlighted by the Teens of Praise Gospel Choir, which has received national recognition for its performances, enthusiasm, and strong regard for music. Individual performers from the elite WHS Music Program have risen to roles of music producers, and professional singers and conductors after graduation. Former WHS music students have also returned to Windsor High School to share their passion for performing arts by teaching.