Walch Education Home | J Weston Walch Publisher History

J Weston Walch Publisher History

Walch Education is an independent, family-owned publisher of educational supplemental materials for grades 5 through 12 and adult markets. We're located in Portland, Maine; Walch Education materials are used in classrooms throughout the United States and around the world.

That's the short of it.

J. Weston Walch, Founder But understanding who we are means understanding our origins, which are in turn key to understanding our philosophy and our commitment. Our founder, J. Weston Walch (1901-1998), came to Portland High School in 1926 to teach and to coach the debate team. Then, as now, Portland High School (one of the nation's oldest) was widely considered to be an outstanding school, serving a diverse student body in the city's downtown area.

For 27 years, he taught them all in his classes, which ranged from consumer economics to college prep history. And he welcomed them all to his debate teams, which were from the very first year wildly successful. Year after year Walch's teams won state, regional, and sometimes even national honors.

Gratified by his success both in the classroom and on the debate circuit, Walch at the conclusion of his first year at Portland High went in to discuss the possibility of a raise in his salary. The principal turned him down, flat. Times were tough. All salary increases would go to married men.

Time for Plan B. Other debate coaches, after their teams had been soundly defeated, had been coming up to the young coach and asking if they could "borrow" his preparatory notes. So Walch purchased a primitive duplicator, set it up in his apartment, and began printing and selling debate booklets - a new edition each year, matched to the national debate topic.

His first year in business ended with revenues of $1,800, expenses of $1,200, and thus a profit of $600 ($100 more than the $500 raise that he had requested).

Out of these modest beginnings, Walch grew a vibrant enterprise which, by the 1980s, published over 100 titles annually in fields ranging from language arts and social studies to math, science, art, music, and special education. Along the way, Walch Education pioneered in bringing to the classroom materials in diverse, teacher- and student-friendly formats: copy masters, reproducible teacher books, slide sets, posters with commentaries, video and audio tapes, and educational software. As technology changed, Walch lead in using it appropriately for the changing classroom.

Walch was also one of the first publishers to recognize, and to provide materials designed for, the Middle School movement, and to bridge the sometimes competing demands of "back to basics" and interdisciplinary studies.

Walch Education's facility at 40 Walch Drive, built in 2004.

Some things have changed over the years, of course: We're now in a state-of-the-art facility (to which we moved in October 2004), printing on the most advanced digital presses available - which allow, among other things, for limited-run custom editions, tailored to the specific needs of individual states, districts, or even, in special circumstances, schools. We reach educators through our catalogs, through our website, through a network of representatives and dealers, and, perhaps most importantly, through word of mouth.

And recently we changed our name to Walch Education.

But many of the most important things have not changed. We're now into our third generation of family ownership, with quite a few second-generation employees. (The Walch book you receive may have been printed by Wilbur Rand - the last remaining publishing company worker who was a PHS student of our founder; it was shipped to you under the supervision of Marc LaCourse, whose father retired some years back after years of managing our printing plant.)

We're still dedicated to helping teachers to help all students achieve their full potentials. Portland High School, to which we retain close ties through a scholarship fund endowed by our founder, now has students from over 30 different language communities.

And just like Mr. Walch, we celebrate the progress of students of all levels of ability and interest, who are most successful and happiest if given the individually appropriate materials from which to learn. Out of preference and conviction, we remain focused on bringing you a wide selection of supplemental materials, from which we hope to help you select what's just right for that child (or group of children) in your third-period math class who, unless reached out to appropriately, might fall through the cracks.