About Maumee Valley Winterim Experience

What is Winterim?

Each year, Maumee Valley suspends its regular course schedule for approximately three weeks so that Upper School students may engage in an intensive learning experience. Students study one topic in great depth throughout the entire Winterim period. The intensive format encourages experiential education where students take advantage of community resources in focused classes, participate in educational trips, pursue their passions in independent studies, or study atsister schools in the Network of Complementary Schools.

What is Winterim Independent Study?

Maumee Valley is driven by our mission to create “enlightened, compassionate, contributing citizens of the global community” and by our vision to offer a personal, experiential, and global education. Our independent study program offers students an opportunity to pursue an area of interest or passion in an experiential mode. Many independent studies also provide students opportunities to be or to become better prepared to be positive, active citizens of the world. The experiential nature of Winterim allows students to learn by participating directly in authentic, outside­of­the­classroom experiences. Educational research shows that experiential education in which students learn by doing is a powerful, meaningful, and long­lasting way to learn. While students pursue individual interests, all independent studies share a few common characteristics. Each student proposes a set of learning goals that will help the student become a more complete Maumee Valley graduate (Portrait of a Maumee Valley graduate). In addition, the independent study process is also intentionally designed to develop a few specific qualities of a graduate. For instance, as students focus on developing goals they will become more self­-aware of their interests and strengths. As students reflect and blog about their experiences and learning, they will practice and demonstrate their digital literacy and capacity to communicate in our technologically rich world. And finally as they present their learning at Winterim Fair, they will build the confidence and presentation skills that are critical on their path to becoming collaborative leaders.

Who can do a Winterim Independent Study?

Students who have an interest in a specific topic or field, who are intrinsically motivated to learn, and who work well independently are well suited for a Winterim independent study. Generally, seniors, juniors, and sophomores have the maturity and the experience as independent learners to succeed in an independent study setting. Exceptionally mature and focused underclassmen may also be considered and approved for independent studies. In broad strokes, how does the Winterim Independent Study work?Students go through a proposal process in which goals are set and the details of the independent study are developed. Students also secure a sponsor, or mentor, who is willing and able to provide access, guidance, and feedback to direct, authentic experiences outside the walls of the classroom. Once completed, the proposal is reviewed by the Winterim Committee who must approve the independent study before the student is able to pursue the independent study for Winterim. When the proposal is approved, the student will be assigned an on -­campus advisor who will monitor the student’s independent study and ultimately evaluate and assign a grade to the student’s work. The student will work daily with his or her sponsor throughout Winterim. In some instances, sponsors may identify other professionals who will work with a
student during portions of an independent study. Students record their experiences and finally present their learning in a presentation to the community at Winterim Fair.

What does an ideal independent study include?

All independent studies are unique; however, they should share a few common qualities. Ideally, students engage in meaningful work, work that benefits and contributes to the organization. Students should do more than shadow and observe. The most successful independent studies in terms of the value of the experience and the overall grade earned put students in situations where they are given responsibility for working on a specific project, or series of projects. We recognize that all workplaces are different and governed by specific legal and safety considerations. So, in some instances when sponsor and student agree that no project is possible, students should be engaged in real work that is significant and valuable to the sponsor rather than work that is created only to keep the student busy.


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