by Megan Philip, Admissions and Communications Associate
If you’re a college football fan (or even if you’re not!) you know that the Ohio State Buckeyes went undefeated in the 2019 regular season in one of the nation’s toughest football conferences, the Big 10. What you may not know is that one of their wide receivers is a proud Wilson grad. Christopher Booker (Wilson ‘10, John Burroughs School ‘16) may now be part of one of college athletics’ most storied programs, but the road there was not an easy one.
After winning a high school state championship with JBS in 2015, Chris began his college career at the University of Dayton. After transferring to The Ohio State University, he played the 2018 season for their club football team, where he was named a first-team All-American by the National Club Football Association. In 2019 he achieved the rare distinction of earning a walk-on spot on the Division I team. This accomplishment came on the heels of an extraordinarily difficult year for his family, in the wake of his beloved brother Nick’s sudden death in the fall of 2018.
Chris was kind enough to take some time away from his rigorous practice schedule to speak with our Head of School about the motivation and experiences behind his success as a scholar-athlete and the role Wilson played in developing them. We’re honored to share some of those thoughts with you below.
-Find something you’re passionate about “I look for something I can hang my hat on and that I can do something good with.” Chris strives to act as both an inspiration and a role model to those around him.
-Then do it for a reason “This is where the grit, and the passion, comes from. Never do something unless you know why you’re doing it.”
-”Your best opponent is yourself: How good can you be? The amount of work you have to put in to be great is always more than you think. You have to value the hard work.” Which leads to...
-”It’s my goal to be the hardest working player on the field- to give the most effort on every play and opportunity I get.” Chris credits his family and his teachers at Wilson for instilling this in him.
-”Remain humble. It’s not hard to do that when you’ve gone to Wilson, because they teach you to think and to look on a grander scale at the world, to view knowledge as a tool that can also benefit those around you. I learned all of that at Wilson. My time at Burroughs was great, and they teach you those things, too, but I learned the essential foundations at Wilson, and I don’t think the rest would have been possible without that.”
by Thad Falkner, Head of School
As we move into 2020, it’s a natural time for reflection and for contemplating our aspirations for the coming year. What we know as adults is true for children and adolescents, as well: Success is rarely accidental; it most often comes as the culmination of goals that are set and pursued.
While your children may not have any lofty ambitions for the year ahead, this is a natural and worthwhile opportunity for them to experience the process of setting and working toward a goal. Whether they succeed or fail in reaching it, they will receive the invaluable reward of learning grit and resilience. Give it a try!
A few things to consider:
Children are uniquely equipped for the practice of goal-setting because of their enthusiasm and joy. Instinctively, parents want these traits to endure, but their approach for doing so is important. Parents can clear the way for children to easily succeed, but that will not empower them for true, long-term success nor cultivate resilience. Conversely, parents can guide their children to success, allowing and encouraging them to work through adversity. This leads to grit, which in turn leads to lasting enthusiasm and joy, because your children will be equipped with appropriate self-sufficiency.
Here’s to enthusiasm, joy, and success for our children in 2020!
by Thad Falkner, Head of School
Wilson’s mission statement begins with these very important words: “To prepare students for success in an ever-changing world.” We take our mission very seriously, so we measure our success meeting this goal in a variety of different ways. We’re excited to share what we’ve discovered with you today.
Test Scores- Certainly, test scores don’t paint the full picture of a student, but they are a good place to start. Over the past five years, our median sixth grade student has scored between the 90th and 95th percentile on all areas of standardized testing.
Secondary School Placement- 100% of our students attend their first or second choice secondary school upon graduating from Wilson. This speaks not only to their academic readiness, but also to the great care and attention given to them and their families as we work together to find what school will be the best fit for each student.
On a more personal note, we periodically survey our graduates and their parents to see how well they felt Wilson prepared them for the next step in their journey and what we might do even better in the future. Here’s what we’ve heard recently:
We are gratified to receive lots of personal comments, as well, such as this one:
“I give all credit for my child’s secondary school success to the incredible preparation, rigor, support, and encouragement she received at Wilson. She has always challenged herself to take the most rigorous courses available and to embrace leadership opportunities, and she has grown into an accomplished and kind young woman. Thank you for giving her the important foundation she needed to excel.”
It’s not the Wilson Way to simply rest on our laurels; we’re a community that is always seeking to grow and improve. Even so, we’re incredibly proud of our successful graduates and the community that helped shape them.
by Thad Falkner
At Wilson we’re proud of our academically rigorous program. When our students graduate, they are one-to-three years ahead of their peers in core subjects. Their test scores and writing skills also set them apart from their secondary school classmates. These are great accomplishments! We know, though, that our students’ success -- both in school and in life -- depends on more than excellent academic preparation. Both experience and research show that our children also need to be socially and emotionally competent if they are going to make their way in the world.
The need for “soft” skills often shows up in the hardest situations: Being able to regulate our emotions, communicate effectively, and advocate for ourselves under pressure can make all the difference between success and failure. That is why Wilson is intentional about cultivating social-emotional competence in our students over the course of their time here.
Just a few examples of the way we do this include:
Our size also ensures that students get plenty of chances to apply the skills they’ve learned in interactions with classmates and teachers. Developing the courage and composure to have a difficult face-to-face conversation with a friend or adult are skills that will serve Wilson students well beyond their school years.
by Thad Falkner, Head of School
Parents frequently ask about classroom sizes and teaching styles when researching potential schools, but research suggests that they should add something to their list of important considerations: technology use.
The more we learn about the impact of rapidly changing technology on our children, the more we recognize the crucial importance of handling it carefully. While these “digital natives” have certainly benefited from many of these advances, they are being impacted in negative ways, as well. How do we make sure our children are empowered learners and active participants in our increasingly connected world without sacrificing their well-being? If your child is a Wilson student, you may be assured that our technology program is designed to do just that.
For many years, Wilson has been a leader in enhancing learning across the disciplines with the innovative use of technology, and we pride ourselves in promoting responsible digital citizenship. Thoughtful, developmentally-appropriate use of both devices and applications is essential to our integrated curriculum. We use technology only where it will enhance the learning process and student engagement, never for the sake of novelty. We build on both our 100+ years of experience teaching children, as well as emerging research, to safeguard our students’ proper physical and social-emotional development. Our early childhood students are outside much more than in front of screens, and when they do use them, it is very intentionally. For example, our senior kindergarten students hike through Forest Park several times a year, noting changes in season, using iPads to photograph and document the transformation of a particular tree.
We also equip our parents to make responsible technology use a family affair, sharing our expertise through workshops and communications, as well as bringing in visiting experts.
At Wilson, our students experience all of the benefits of integrated learning through innovative methods, always in ways that ensure they will continue to grow and thrive as they should.
Want to know more?
Wilson’s Technology Timeline
Early Childhood: Our youngest students are very much engrossed in imaginative play and making observations about the world around them. At this age, technology is used sparingly and only to support their growth in these areas.
Primary: Our primary grade students are immersed in creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. They use technology to tackle challenges imaginatively and to collaborate with students across the world.
Upper: Our oldest students are ready for exceptional work in computational thinking and digital citizenship. They use technology to devise and test ways to solve all sorts of problems, to construct, share, and discuss their learning, and to make educated decisions about using technology that connects us all.
Questions to Ask About a School’s Philosophy of Technology
Further Reading on the Developmental Impact of Technology on Children
New Strategies to Get Kids to Create Media, Not Just Consume It, by Christine Elgersma, Common Sense Media
Media and Young Minds, American Academy of Pediatrics
Five Ways to Transform Your Kids’ Screen Time by Devorah Heitner, Time
Wilson in the News