By Drew Sutherland ’21
This year, for the first time ever, The Frederick Gunn School is implementing a program known as Winterim, in which students choose a single course they wish to take online in between Thanksgiving and Winter Break.
On November 20, the current term will end and students will leave campus for Winter and Thanksgiving Break. Winterim classes will begin virtually on December 2nd and last three weeks until December 19th. Each of these classes will be taught by one or two faculty members and some may include prerequisites. The few prerequisites that are required are minimal, and the most rigorous among them is access to a kitchen and ingredients, and completion of Algebra 1.
The original idea for the Winterim program was originally pioneered at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. At Colby, the program is currently known as Jan Plan, short for January Plan. Colby’s philosophy of Jan Plan is similar yet separate to our Winterim program. A major difference that Colby has in comparison to The Frederick Gunn School, is the fact that many Jan Plan programs are individual and designed by the student with help from faculty.
According to the Jan Plan mission statement at Colby, Jan Plans are split up between one of three major areas. The first is undergraduate research, which would be conducting faculty-guided or original research during January. The second is career development and exploration, such as internships. The Frederick Gunn School does not offer any programs in these first two categories, but the third is what relates most to Winterim: interdisciplinary exploration.
Many of the classes listed in the Winterim Course Guide relate multiple topics, such as Environmental Racism and Justice, Social Justice in Documentary Film, and Superheroes for the Moment. Other colleges such as Williams College, Oberlin College, and Middlebury College have also adopted this program or something similar during the month of January.
Mrs. Gum, our Academic Dean, made an announcement at School Meeting on Thursday, October 16. She stated that: “This is the first year we’re going at it but it’s not the last! It’s a new annual program that we offer between Thanksgiving and Christmas.”For all of you new freshman, get ready for a fun four years of branching out and trying different classes! “The classes are about 12-15 students and are open to anyone,” Mrs. Gum continued, “which means all classes will likely have students from all grades in them.” The Winterim Program will continue for years to come, and many students are looking forward to their classes.