Between 2002 and 2007, Arthur Levine—president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation—conducted a comprehensive study of America’s education schools. His research resulted in three reports: Educating School Teachers, Educating School Leaders, and Educating Researchers. The vision for the High Meadows Graduate School of Teaching & Learning, founded as the WW Academy, stems from these reports.
Following extensive preliminary studies in 2011–12, along with early support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, noted education experts helped to outline the HM Graduate School’s competency-based approach. At the same time, Graduate School leadership sought the right university to house the intended new graduate school, emphasizing the need for vision and expertise in cognitive science, STEM education, digital learning, gaming and simulation.
In June 2015, in collaboration with MIT, the Graduate School began work to build its revolutionary program. In 2016, the Graduate School hired its first faculty and in 2018 enrolled its first cohort of teacher candidates.
“For me the HM Graduate School is a dream come true. After decades of working on areas of education and teacher education, in particular, this is a chance to rethink it. Not to reform it, not to tinker with it, but to dream about what it would be like for… a global digital information economy.”
-Arthur Levine, Founding President
In July 2016, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education gave informal approval for the Woodrow Wilson Academy (soon to be named Graduate School) of Teaching and Learning to offer a licensure program in middle and high school math, biology, and chemistry. And in 2017, the Massachusetts Board of Higher authorized the school to offer the Master of Education (M.Ed.).
In fall 2017, a group of ten Design Fellows were selected to co-develop, test, and refine its innovative program. During the Design Year, the Graduate School built crucial partnerships with local school districts to provide clinical sites, mentoring support, and an on-the-ground perspective on needs in teacher preparation. In September 2018, the Design Fellows, along with ten new teacher candidates, enrolled as the first cohort of teacher candidates, and in 2019, the first graduates of the program were hired as teachers of record in Massachusetts. Teacher candidates remain in high demand by area schools and districts and are frequently hired to teach while they complete their program of study.
In 2018, the Graduate School became an independent 501(c)(3) organization, and in 2020 the Woodrow Wilson Graduate School changed its name again, this time to the High Meadows Graduate School of Teaching and Learning.
In addition to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the school has received support from the Amgen Foundation, the Barr Foundation, the Bezos Family Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the High Meadows Foundation, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, the Simons Foundation, and an anonymous foundation as well as individual donors.