Building the School of Tomorrow:
West Nottingham Academy, Announces The Center for Creative Exploration Thanks to
Generous Support of Celebrated Artist and Alumnus Eric Fischl
The Nation’s longest-standing boarding and day school is on the forefront of education and rewriting the curriculum to best equip students for an ever-changing world
COLORA, MARYLAND – August 16, 2022 – Today, West Nottingham Academy, the 279-year-old institution founded by Samuel Finley and attended by signers of the Declaration of Independence, announces The Center for Creative Exploration. The multi-disciplinary center, made possible by the generous support of acclaimed artist and West Nottingham Academy alumnus Eric Fischl, will rewrite the traditional academic curriculum, offering students the opportunity to learn and explore creativity through both academic and real-world scenarios.
“Going for my BFA in 1970 was the only time in my education that I came in contact with a structure of creative education that focused on a self-designed curriculum suited to my specific interests and needs,” said Eric Fischl. “It was a revelation, and it was inspirational to finally see exactly what is was that I needed to achieve my fullest potential. I had never experienced that before.”
The Center for Creative Exploration will anchor and play an integral role in the school’s new curriculum focused on ensuring students are prepared for the ever-changing world of tomorrow. Championed by parents and endorsed by top educators, The Center for Creative Exploration will be accessible to all students beginning the 2022-2023 academic year. The Center will be a key pillar of the highly customizable academic program developed over the past year by school faculty with student support.
“When WNA contacted me to talk about their desire to re-envision how students needed to be more fully prepared for their future, which is a future built around networking on a global scale and innovations necessary for product development, gaming, immersive experience, and more urgently, designing what it is going to take to move the world off of fossil fuels, deliver water, food, power, medical aid throughout the world, it became absolutely clear to me that if we don’t teach the necessary skills for dynamic creativity, we will not be preparing them for their future. That is a failure no school should tolerate or accept,” continued Fischl.
Through The Center for Creative Exploration, students will learn how to take innate creativity and apply it to innovative problem solving. The development of leadership and entrepreneurial skills will allow students to bridge the gap between having a great idea and bringing it to fruition. Highlights of The Center will include an all-new video production lab, music studio, as well as funding for independent creative studies for both students and faculty. All current visual arts classes including the school’s Artist-in-Residence program in collaboration with the prestigious New York Academy of Art, will also become part of this special hub. The Center for Creative Exploration will become the foundation of West Nottingham’s multiyear plan to develop students who can address real world issues with innovative solutions. By preparing students for the world of tomorrow, West Nottingham graduates will be at the forefront of building a better future for all.
“Creativity and self-expression are skills that have often been overlooked in education and today, more so than ever, are crucial in allowing students to find their interests and realize their potential,” said Dr. Sandra Wirth, Head of School. “From the moment we shared our new vision for the future of West Nottingham Academy, Eric has been an incredible thought partner and now he has made it a reality. Eric’s generosity and commitment to West Nottingham has and will continue to benefit generations of students and we are honored to call him an alumnus.”
The overall new academic program focuses on teaching students to think critically, creatively, ethically, globally, and abundantly. Each student will plan and execute a schedule that matches their personal interests and passions. Rather than being locked into a rigid curriculum that only allows for a handful of electives, the new academic program is built to provide as much freedom as possible for the student in choosing their courses. Where no course exists that matches an interest, students will be able to create their own independent study course under the guidance of a faculty mentor and the Academic Dean. A student’s curriculum will truly be tailored to each individual and reflect their unique interests.
Classmates will remain unified through the shared experience of a “Core” class where students will meet simultaneously with their entire grade level, providing an opportunity to learn from their peers. In addition to the traditional English, History and STEM offerings, the “Core” class will focus on helping students discover who they are, what they want to be, and to provide them with the proper skillset.
For more information about West Nottingham Academy, including the new academic program, visit wna.org
Every day, in every activity, from the classroom to the playing fields, art studios, and club gatherings, students are exposed to a diverse community of learners from all walks of life.