When did your organization launch and why?
Winston was founded in 1981 by a group of parents hoping to create a smaller, more structured high school for their children who needed more support. In 2007, Winston opened up a campus in Norwalk, CT followed by the launch of their Transitions program in 2011 and a campus in Whippany, New Jersey in 2013.
Winston Prep is home to a smart and creative community of students who have struggled in traditional school settings. Our students have been diagnosed with language processing disorders, nonverbal learning disabilities, and executive functioning difficulties. They are brought together by their struggle and supported by a talented and diverse faculty who is dedicated to supporting them in the journey to become life-long, independent learners. The Winston Prep program is designed to challenge each student’s strengths while developing the essentials of reading, writing, mathematics, organization and study skills. Each individualized educational program is based upon a continuously modified understanding of each student’s dynamic learning profile that evolves as the student progresses and matures.
What makes your organization stand out? What would you say is the most unique thing about your organization?
Winston Prep has an individualized Focus program, where each student meets one-on-one with a teacher to strengthen the goals they need to become an independent and lifelong learner. Our unique model of education for the individual provides intense skills remediation, while encouraging students to build independence, resilience, responsibility, self-awareness, and self-advocacy. Key to the development of each student is the focus on assessment-based remediation, the daily one-to-one Focus Program, the skill-based curriculum, small homogenous class groupings, an expert faculty, an emphasis on social-emotional development, and a supportive community.
What are recent projects or new resources that your organization would like to share with other NAMLE members?
Our newest project is the Winston Innovation Lab. Winston leaders and teachers from all four campuses have the opportunity to collaborate and link new science and understanding to their everyday work to ensure that the Continuous Feedback Process is contributing to and learning from the state of the art. The Winston Innovation Lab will focus on creating, refining and supporting all iterations of the Winston Preparatory School. Specifically, the Winston Innovation Lab will continue to develop and expand projects and programs related to campus Professional Development, Teacher Excellence and Leadership Development, Qualities of a Sustainable and Independent Learner, Lives Over Time and Promoting Wellness Among Middle and High School Students, as well as respond to the needs of the campuses and expand on projects and areas in need of research.
What are the connections between the work of your organization and media literacy?
Some of the most important work that we do is to help our students make connections. That begins with self-reflection and self-advocacy and evolves through academic and social problem solving. Teaching our students to become critical readers and thinkers is dependent upon their understanding the world they live in and the media and resources from which they derive information. Our program design would be insufficient and wanting without media literacy instruction.
Media literacy is important to us because it helps our students navigate the world. Some educators use media as a tool to enhance academic and social problem-solving skills. Others teach media literacy education in order to support students analyze, evaluate and create media. Our students benefit from developing all types of literacy, and within the past few years, we have included media literacy into our classrooms and afterschool programs.
Check out our website to find out more: http://www.winstonprep.edu/what-we-do/