After more than a decade, Brooks School’s intensive, January class Winter Term program has gotten an exciting update.
This year for the first time, in response to student feedback, the school is offering half-day courses in addition to the signature full-day, one-course plan of study and exploration. January 4 through January 21, half-day class students will take two courses during the school day (exposing students to a variety of different topics and disciplines — ideal for those who like variety and want diversity in their days) while full-day program students concurrently immerse themselves in the experience of one specific topic in an area of interest that may include overnight and significant off-campus travel.
“Enrolling in two immersive-course experiences will allow students to try more than one thing, while still preserving the depth of engagement that is the hallmark of Winter Term,” Associate Head for Academic Affairs and History Teacher Susanna Waters explained. “For six hours each day, over the better part of three weeks, students will be able to try on a pairing of courses like ‘Gaming Unplugged’ and ‘Sherlock Holmes.’ Their experiences in these half-day courses might pique their interest in subjects and skills they might otherwise have been hesitant to try if offered exclusively in a full-day format.”
Last year the program returned after a hiatus during the COVID pandemic in 2020.
Adding to the excitement about the new half-day opportunities is the fact that there are 20 new courses in this year’s Winter Term catalog.
This fall, students picked their favorite eight classes and those served as the basis for their final assignments that faculty organizers decided based on availability and past Winter Term class enrollment, among other considerations.
“This new menu is a reflection both of veteran faculty developing some new courses and an influx of fresh talent and excitement amongst new teachers,” said Waters. “Courses like ‘Aviation,’ ‘History of Time Travel & the Multiverse,’ ‘Learn to Snowboard,’ ‘Farm to Table’ and ‘Screenwriting’ will join tried-and-true favorites such as ‘Car Wars,’ ‘Scuba,’ ‘Walking Boston’ and the philanthropy-focused course, ‘Passion to Pass it On.’"
Expanded travel offerings this year include four international trips — to Honduras, Italy, Portugal and Spain — along with regional travel to New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
“It’s possible that half-day classes could become full-day options in the future,” added Dean of Curriculum and Instruction and History Teacher Joanna McDonough.
Winter Term independent courses for sixth-form students are being offered again, as well.
“The really cool thing that happened because of the half days is that we have three students in an independent for a half day and a half day course as their other,” she said, noting that one student is in an independent full-day. “The new format has given us the flexibility to have students be like, ‘I’m really interested in a piano independent for three hours each day, and the other three hours I want to do ‘Strength and Conditioning.’”
Students who have enrolled in the half-day programs “have multiple passions,” said McDonough. “And they’re really excited to have the time to explore multiple areas of their interest. So, we’re trying it out and seeing what happens!”
The celebration and sharing of all Winter Term activities in the school’s annual Winter Term Symposium will be held the morning of Saturday, January 21.
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