The Wellington School opened for classes this week with a "record-breaking enrollment" of more than 660 students, Head of School Robert Brisk said.
Opening day for the private school for students in kindergarten through grade 12 was Wednesday, Aug. 20.
Brisk said he is most excited this school year to have new laboratory space for the Wellington Research Institute.
"Our mission calls on us to help every person find and fulfill his or her unique potential," he said. "Giving students opportunities to pursue their own advanced and sophisticated science research is one of the ways we do just that."
Students taking Independent Science Research classes in the Upper School pursue a research project in consultation with the science department faculty and also work with an outside research expert in their field of study. The course culminates in a presentation to the Wellington community at the end of the school year, according to online course information at wellington.org.
Laura Cooke, assistant head of school, said Wellington is launching a project called "Classroom of the Future."
"We open the school year (with) new furniture in four locations -- two middle school classrooms, one upper school classroom and the middle commons," she said.
She said a committee of teachers and administrators spent time looking at the best ways to engage students using different types of furniture.
"We selected pieces much like you would see in a graduate school classroom -- chairs, tables and whiteboards are all on wheels," she said. "The entire room can be reconfigured in minutes. Soft and multilevel seating provide options for students."
Cooke said technology carts feature flat-screen televisions and a "puck system" to allow students to work together and share on the big screen.
Jeff Terwin, head of the Upper School, said the new Wellington Research Institute will focus on aquatic biology and atmospheric chemistry.
"We are also excited to introduce an expanded computer science curriculum and a renewed approach to our robotics program," he said. "For our very strong integrated world studies program, this year we are adding an art and design component, through a partnership with Columbus Idea Foundry."
The school is in the second year of its Global Citizenship Certificate program, he said.
"We will pilot a new world language program, utilizing online language-learning options to supplement our core language offerings of Spanish, Latin and French," he said.
Terwin said 26 students from France will attend Wellington this fall as part of a student exchange program and 20 Wellington students will head to France in the spring.
Orientation activities for freshmen this year included team-building exercises.
"The students participated in a scavenger hunt and other activities to help them feel comfortable on Wellington's campus," he said. "Orientation continues for all Upper School students, new and returning, as they take part in class trips."