O.W.L. (Our Wider Learning) Program

“OWL Outings” are student day trips to museums, parks, exhibits, and other sites.

They directly complement our curriculum, integrating engaging, hands-on experiences with specific units of study. Because of our campus’s physical proximity to downtown Norfolk, we have many exciting enrichment opportunities in our backyard.

Different grades will focus on different themes.


“Where did we come from and how do we fit into Williams?”

Kindergarten students are the newest members of Williams. It is our goal to make them feel comfortable and connected. Students will explore what makes themselves and one another unique and they will discover how they can work together to weave themselves into our school culture and environment.

Grade 1

Grade 1

“How do we connect to our community?”

1st Grade students are comfortable at Williams, but how do they connect to the larger community and the world? Whether it is writing letters to our military members or maintaining a community garden, students will spend time learning how they can connect to others regardless of background, life circumstances, or geographical location.

Grade 2

“How do we show respect for different communities?”

The focus in 2nd Grade is learning to respect different communities. Students spend time learning how their actions affect others in a variety of ways. Whether it is learning about how we can save our rainforests or protecting our oceans for the whales, sharks, and dolphins that live there, students will learn that there are many ways to show respect for diverse communities.

Grade 2
Grade 3

Grade 3

“How do we learn from cultures different from our own?”

3rd Grade students have spent time learning their roles in their school, neighborhoods, local and international communities, but how can they learn from cultures that are different from their own? How can learning from other cultures help our students be more empathetic and even embrace differences? Students will learn how other cultures throughout history have shaped their daily lives, their country, and their world.

Grade 4

“How do we show responsibility for our environment?”

4th Grade students spend the year focusing on the Chesapeake Bay and its importance to our local area and the world. Students will learn how humans have affected the local waterways throughout history. They will have a greater understanding how seemingly small decisions can have broader implications.

Grade 4 Classroom at The Williams School
Grade 5

Grade 5

“How do we use our voice to make a positive impact?”

5th Grade is the culmination of Lower School. Students are expected to take what they have learned about our community and their place in it to work towards making a difference. Students will learn that while they are part of many communities, they often must use their own voice to spark change and help others. They will use their voice to show responsibility and independence as they transition to 6th Grade.

Grade 6

“Where did we come from and where are we going?”

Middle School is a time of transition. Students are asked to think about forming the identity that will carry their group through the next three years. Therefore, the theme of 6th Grade is “Where did we come from and where are we going?” In the fall, students will have the opportunity to engage in bonding and team-building during an overnight trip. This important off-campus experience lays a strong foundation for future trips, as well as helps the class begin to establish a common culture.

Grade 6
Grade 7 Classroom at The Williams School

Grade 7

“How do we best work together to be a positive and productive member of society?”

7th Grade students are encouraged – if not expected – to begin thinking more critically about the world around them. Students will participate in off-campus experiences that promote problem-solving and building an awareness of the increasingly global society in which they live. Students will be asked to consider questions such as why is it important to be aware of perspectives different than their own, and how people of any age can work together to address problems. They will dive into literature from different perspectives in Language Arts and explore world history and geography in social studies. Perhaps one of the most anticipated experiences of the year is the Rube Goldberg project in Physical Science, during which students must work collaboratively to design, build, and operate a working, complex machine.

Grade 8

“How do we prepare for life beyond Williams?”

8th Grade is the culmination of a student’s Williams journey. Therefore, the focus of both on-campus and off-campus experiences is “looking beyond Williams” and helping students push their boundaries. Throughout the year, all students will take an active role in fundraising and organizing logistics for the spring class trip. The preparation process and the trip itself call on students to practice the kind of independence, responsibility, and decision-making that expected of them after graduation. We will plan additional off-campus experiences with these specific goals in mind. We will guide students to look beyond Williams and their own comfort zones through challenging classroom curricula, leadership opportunities (both formal and informal), and navigating the high school admission process.

Grade 8 Classroom at The Williams School
A young boy

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