WMRHS Awarded Barr Foundation Grant to Continue Work on High School Redesign

May 8th, 2019


An award of $250k from the Boston-based Barr Foundation will allow WMRHS to proceed with its plan to reshape the high school experience for students and staff.

This award announcement comes after a year from initial contacts, faculty and student interviews, tours, and a final application to secure the grant.

According to WMRHS principal, Michael Berry, the grant will allow the high school to work on creating more inquiry-driven, thematic courses, using global connections more regularly, and further developing 21st century skills linked to competency-based performance assessments. The grant will support summer planning, adoption of new tools and strategies, and the opportunity to continue to work with coaches and consultants who have been a part of Principal Berry's design team for the past three years.

The work will also include incorporating various methods of community outreach and commentary into classes and exhibitions. Community and business partners will provide global expertise into courses, exhibitions, and other events.

Finally, the grant will allow for the development and implementation of electronic portfolios for all students designed around core skills, offering student choice and thoughtful archiving of work.

Berry states that the grant will allow the school to continue “doing more for more students” which has been his mantra that the school has adopted since 2014. He believes that the summer work fits the idea of “first different, then better” and allows the high school to fine tune some of the changes already being made.

The Barr Foundation’s mission is to invest in humans’ natural and creative potential, serving as thoughtful stewards and catalysts. Based in Boston, Barr focuses regionally, and selectively engages nationally, working in partnership with nonprofits, foundations, the public sector, and civic and business leaders to elevate the arts, advance solutions for climate change, and connect all students to success in high school and beyond. Founded in 1997, Barr now has assets of $1.7 billion and has contributed more than $837 million to charitable causes. For more information, visit barrfoundation.org or follow @Barrfdn.