The Winsor School
A leading school for academically promising girls in grades 5-12

Independent Learning

A graduation requirement introduced in 2008-2009, the Independent Learning Experience (ILE) gives Winsor seniors an opportunity to pursue a specific interest independently. Each student designs her own project, guided by a faculty advisor and a mentor/supervisor in her area of interest. Winsor students engage in the ILE during the final four weeks of their senior year.


What opportunities are available?

Project topics are wide-ranging and fall into several broad categories:
• substantive volunteer work for school or
community programs,
• medical or scientific research,
• business or political internships,
• academic or creative independent study,
• apprenticeship in the visual/performing arts

Examples of specific projects include:
• service learning at the Boston Center for
Community Justice and Gaining Ground
• coaching and tutoring at Squash Busters
• conducting medical research at Dana-Farber
Cancer Institute
• creating curriculum for Science Club for Girls
• writing and illustrating a children’s book
• composing an original piece of music

How does the ILE benefit seniors?

Seniors have the opportunity to:
• design their own educational program
• pursue passions and interests
• deepen skills and increase understanding
• learn essential work and life skills
• get involved with a community
• engage in new experiences

What are the academic components?

1. Reading and journaling
Students are required to:
• read the equivalent of one relevant book to
prepare for the ILE
• reflect on their experiences in a simple,
informal journal

2. Final presentation
Students present their projects to the community in a way that is relevant to the project.
Some presentation options include:
• visual art exhibits
• musical and dramatic performances
• film and video installations
• papers
• displays
• presentations on research results, readings of
literary work, etc.

How is the ILE evaluated?

During exam week, each student’s project is assessed based on the following elements:
• execution of project, including the quality,
impact and learning value of project
• final presentation
• final reflection describing the ILE in detail,
including specific references to the reading
and personal lessons learned in the process
• written evaluations by the advisor and

What do projects mean for students?

While completing their projects, seniors learn more about themselves and what they want to do in the next four years. In addition, students discover that the lessons they learn outside the classroom can be just as valuable as the knowledge they gain from classroom discussions and readings.

Mentor Information

Learn More

Internships are designed to give a senior a taste of what it takes to do a specific job or work in a particular profession. The internship must consist of real assignments and job-shadowing experiences, oversight by a “mentor” who can provide context and feedback, and participation in relevant meetings. Many seniors choose the option of engaging in a substantive community service assignment, working directly with people in need or on an important social issue. These positions are similar to internships, in that they involve a “mentor” who helps make the experience meaningful for the student.

If you would like to mentor a Winsor senior for her ILE, please click here to fill out a survey so that an interested student can contact you.