LOS ANGELES, Nov. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Wildwood School in West Los Angeles was recently awarded a $50,000 matching grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation, a premiere foundation funder of independent schools. Wildwood is the only Southern California independent school to receive a grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation thus far in 2015. The award will be used to help fund the first of three academic institutes directed and run by students.
The Wildwood Institute for STEM Research and Development (WISRD) inaugurates the school's Institute Model, and is a hallmark program for teaching and learning in Wildwood's upper school. WISRD provides a framework for the best ways to help students develop the 21st-century skills that are essential to success: mastering content, risk taking, problem solving, critical-thinking, collaboration, and navigating unfamiliar situations with comfort.
With the guidance of a highly qualified and experienced master teacher, and in collaboration with mentors from the professional world, WISRD students devise projects that address areas of personal interest and value. They are guided in their research by an Advisory Board that includes Wildwood faculty and scientists from MIT, UCLA, JPL, and Loyola Marymount University. The Institute actively partners with research groups such as Southern California Microscopic Society and UCLA's Plasma Physics Lab. WISRD also collaborates on projects for NASA's Dawn Mission and Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope Project, and studies cosmic ray activity through the NSF funded QuarkNet. In addition to pure science, WISRD partners with GameDesk (NAO fully articulated robot) and SMALLab Learning (3D learning space utilizing embodied learning) to develop STEM related curricular material.
Launched in 2014, WISRD's first cohort of students founded labs in Astronomy and Space Science; Coding and Electronics; Engineering and Design; Life Science, and Math Theory. For instance, UCLA's Plasma Lab is partnering with scholars from WISRD's Math Theory Lab, working together to design and implement plasma physics experiments. WISRD has partnered with a non-profit organization to design and manufacture, using 3D printing, robotic prosthetic hands for children who are missing digits. And an Institute scholar is working with a graduate student at USC in the areas of learning theory, cognitive science and artificial intelligence, programming a robot to understand and respond to positive social cues.
"The Edward E. Ford Foundation grant will not only allow us to continue to expand the Institute Model at Wildwood, but it's also a clear affirmation of the quality of the work that our students and my colleagues and I are doing." said Landis Green, head of school. "It's not hyperbolic to say that it's an honor to receive support and objective affirmation from the Edward E. Ford Foundation. As architects of their own learning experience, as teachers of other students, and as partners in applications of their knowledge, Institute participants take even greater ownership of their work than in their regular classes at Wildwood. It's a dynamic new structure for us, a natural evolution of our progressive and project based program," he explained.
About Wildwood School
Wildwood School is a K-12 independent college preparatory school serving a diverse student body across two campuses in West Los Angeles. Wildwood's progressive educational approach creates passionately inquisitive students who take intellectual and creative risks and seek to make a difference in the world.
About the Edward E. Ford Foundation:
The mission of The Edward E. Ford Foundation is to strengthen and support independent secondary schools and to challenge and inspire them to leverage their unique talents, expertise and resources to advance teaching and learning throughout this country by supporting and disseminating best practice, by supporting efforts to develop and implement models of sustainability, and by encouraging collaboration with other institutions.
SOURCE Wildwood School