Our Student Life Cycle: A Day in the Life of a Winston Online Student

Tabitha Mancini, Director Winston Online
Jaclyn Siegel, Head of School Winston Online

At Winston Prep, we begin with the overarching belief that every student can learn when given the right environment and instruction. Winston Online creates this space. 

What it Means to be a Winston Online Student

Being a Winston Online student means being a valued member of the school community. Here, students engage in an educational program customized for their specific learning needs.
It means connecting with teachers in a deep and meaningful way. Winston educators create a safe space to strengthen and develop the skills they need. When students feel understood, they become confident, sustainable, and independent learners. These skills serve them for a lifetime, both in and outside of the classroom. 

It means you create connections with teachers who care about you as an individual. You will form bonds with peers who can relate to you. Most importantly, you will find a community where you belong.

Our Educational Model

Winston Online serves students who have learning disabilities. These include dyslexia, executive functioning difficulties (including ADHD), and nonverbal learning disabilities.

We begin designing a student’s educational program by gaining a deep understanding of each student. With this understanding, we create a customized educational plan to remediate areas of weakness while teaching them to leverage their strengths. 
Once we have a solid understanding of each student and their learning needs, we begin to develop their program. That process includes grouping all students by their learning profile. This makes every moment a student is in class meaningful because every class is designed specifically for them.

Responsive Programming
Using various research-based methods and approaches, teachers create and monitor specific and measurable skill-based goals. Each student’s response to their program is incredibly important to understand. If something is not working, we change it. 

We make continual adjustments to a students’ educational program and our teaching approach. Every program changes as the student develops during their educational life-cycle and develops as a learner.

The Focus Program

Our Focus program is a separate one-to-one class period. During this time, students meet with a Winston Focus teacher for 45 minutes each day. This class is highly individualized, similar to our content classes, but even more so due to the one-to-one environment. 

Focus teachers identify the most crucial areas a student needs to develop. Then, they create a set of skill-based goals around those areas.

Focus teachers work collaboratively with a student’s content teachers to guide a student’s education. They quickly become household names as they are the family’s point person. Your child’s Focus teacher will reach out at the end of every week with an update on their progress. They always make sure to mention any areas of concern or reason for celebration. 

Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

At Winston Prep, Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is at the core of everything we do. We have identified a particular set of research-backed SEL skills (Qualities of a Sustainable and Independent Learner). These include self-advocacy, self-reflection, self-regulation, resilience, social responsibility, problem solving, social communication, and organization and time management. Each skill is critical to a students’ academic success and general life satisfaction. 
At Winston Online, we incorporate the building of these skills across the academic day, both explicitly and implicitly. We want each student to be self-aware of their own learning profile, decisions, and actions. Ultimately, we want Winston Prep students to walk away with a toolbox of strategies they can use on their own.

The Daily Schedule for Students

The daily schedule for Winston Online students can look very different due to our flexible program options to precisely meet individual needs. Winston Online students engage in live, carefully designed courses tailored to their individual learning profiles. As classes are synchronous, students all sign into their Google Classrooms at the time each class begins. They proceed to meet with their teacher and classmates for 45-minutes daily. 
Each of the classes are small to provide even more individualized support and instruction in a safe space. We’ve found this allows for a deeper connection between the teacher and students. 

A student enrolled in the full-time Winston Online program follows an eight-period day.  The schedule includes:
  • Five content classes (literature, language skills, science, math, and history)
  • The 1:1 Focus period
  • Lunch
  • Electives 
There is a five-minute break between classes. It allows for students and faculty to take a quick break away from the computer screen. Students often use it to get a drink of water or snack. Sometimes they have a short movement break, or simply prepare for their next class. 

Socializing is an important part of the Winston Online experience. Students have a variety of ways they socialize in weekly all school-based activities. Wednesdays are half days, with 25-minute periods. There is time embedded into the schedule for all-school meetings. 

For those students wanting additional support and time with classmates or teachers, after school study time is also available.

A Flexible Daily Student Routine

Winston Online provides various program options that best serve each student’s individual needs. We’re aware that not all students need a full-time school program or have traditional schedules. Many learners, such as athletes, need a flexible school option. Winston Online can fit into any schedule. 
For example, some students take college classes at their local community college. Those students can enroll in our Core program. It includes three content courses and our Focus class. In this example, students get a head start by earning college credits. Meanwhile, they continue to develop the skills necessary to graduate high school. 

Our Focus only program offers one-to-one intense remediation in specific academic areas. It can be combined with a homeschool program. Some students even attend full-time public school or private school elsewhere. You can enroll in the Focus only program during the school year or over the summer.

Creating Community and a Sense of Belonging 

Winston Online offers a variety of ways for our students (and their teachers) to come together to build lasting relationships. As we exist within a virtual space, we are very thoughtful and intentional about socialization. We provide space for our students to create and foster friendships, as well as develop and maintain connections with their teachers. It’s built directly into the daily student routine.
Our faculty and student body hail from across the United States and Europe. This diverse geography provides a unique opportunity for our students from different locations and backgrounds to learn from one another.

Virtual Field Trips and Activities

Winston Online holds a variety of virtual activities throughout the school year. Some examples include virtual monthly field trips to locations such as:
  • The Museum of Pop Culture (Seattle)
  • The United Nations (NYC, NY)
  • The Hogle Zoo (Utah)
    The Space Foundation Discovery Center (Colorado)
Monthly Wellness Wednesdays is a school favorite. Our students engage in an all school, teacher lead yoga class.
There are also activities students can participate in that take place on a weekly basis. Students and faculty attend weekly all-school meetings. Faculty share announcements and students share presentations and accomplishments. It provides an opportunity for students to survey their community as part of student-led projects. 

After School Activities

The daily routine of a student at Winston Online continues after class. Students participate in after school clubs on a weekly basis. These student-driven clubs allow them to engage and socialize with their peers in a non-academic setting. 

Our longest running after school club is our Cooking Club! Other offerings have included:
  • Debate club
  • Writing Club
  • Improv Club
  • Photography club
We offer new clubs each semester. Each offers a unique opportunity for students to explore their interests and have fun with their peers.

At the beginning of each school year, students come together for an in-person overnight trip. We all gather at the Frost Valley YMCA camp in the Catskills. These in-person trips provide our students with more opportunities to bond with their peers.

It’s wonderful to watch students put into practice the skills they acquire through our program. In-person gatherings are always a fan favorite.

Social Enrichment

Socialization is an important part of a student’s development. Winston Online is very mindful about how we approach and include social enrichment for our students outside of the classroom. As such, social enrichment is thoughtfully embedded into our programming.

For students who require social problem-solving development, we offer social groups during the Focus period. These exist within our online community and in collaboration with our Winston brick-and-mortar campuses. This collaboration with other Winston campuses allows our students to strengthen their social skills within the wider Winston Prep community. 

Along with school provided social activities, we mindfully work with families to incorporate in-person extracurricular experiences for their students. Many families incorporate in-person programming for their students by having them take electives in their communities.

For instance, some students participate in internships and/or classes within their home districts. Others volunteer in their local communities or are involved with in-person writing clubs. Many students also engage in sports, including swimming, soccer, wrestling, and gymnastics.

See Your Child Thrive at Winston Online

Winston Online is a fully-online program for students through 12th grade with learning differences. Our community includes learners with dyslexia, nonverbal learning disabilities (NVLD), and executive functioning difficulties (ADHD).

Can you imagine your child thriving as they move through the student life cycle at Winston Prep? We can’t wait to welcome them to our inclusive and transformative community. Learn more about the Winston Online program here.
Winston Preparatory School is a leading school for students with learning disabilities, including dyslexia, executive functioning difficulties (ADHD), and non-verbal learning disorders (NVLD).

WPS does not discriminate against applicants and students on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin. The Winston Preparatory School provides programs and services and equal opportunity in the administration of its educational and admissions policies, financial aid programs, employment, and the selection of its governing board without regard to gender, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability status, or any status recognized by federal, state and local civil rights and non-discrimination laws.