FAQs for NJ Campus
We hope this information will provide an additional insight into a child’s experience at Winston Prep. Please contact our Director of Admissions, Meredith Fisher, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or at (973) 500-6480 for further information.
Q. What is the school day like?
A. Students can arrive as early as 7:45am. Homeroom starts at 8:15am and first period begins at 8:25am. Each period is 45 minutes, and the school day ends at 3:00pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday classes are 25 minutes with dismissal at 12:20pm to allow for meetings and professional workshops. On Wednesdays, students have the option of staying for supervised art and sports activities until 3:00pm.
Students attend one period of language skills, literature, mathematics, history, science and Focus, our one-to-one daily program. In addition, students have one period of physical education two to three times per week, alternating with art class.
Q. Why is there a half-day on Wednesdays? Is there an option for students to stay at school?
A. Every Wednesday, the students are dismissed at 12:20pm to provide teachers the opportunity to meet for professional development and team meetings. These team meetings allow Deans, content teachers, and Focus teachers to discuss each group of students and implement the Continuous Feedback System, as well as have discussions related to best practices and latest research. As such, we offer students the option to stay at school until 3:00 for supervised art and athletic programs.
Q. What happens at lunchtime?
A. Winston provides supervised lunch/ recess periods for all students. There are two lunch periods that are divided by age. Students are provided a full class period (45 minutes) to eat with friends and are offered recess outside or within our gymnasium during inclement weather and winter months. The entire year, students also have the option of playing board games in the Great Room or going to the art room for supervised art time. Sophomores, juniors and seniors, who are in good academic standing and with permission from their parents, have permission to leave campus with a teacher and walk to the local shopping center to eat with friends for lunch.
Q. What activities are available after school?
A. In keeping with our dynamic learning model, we are constantly striving to develop new and interesting extracurricular options designed to meet the interests of each year’s student body. In response to community interests we have provided after-school activities, such as basketball, cross country, baseball, fencing, archery, swim, digital photography, Japanese Anime study, art, Zumba, science club, chess, acting and improv, yearbook committee, and community service club. We also offer Homework Hub (a supervised homework center) after school Monday through Thursday. As a small school, we are supportive of responding to the interests of our community and plan to continue to develop after school sports and programs based upon our dialogue with families and students.
Q. How many students are in each class?
A. Winston classes typically have between eight and twelve students with one teacher. Students are grouped based upon their learning profile, an understanding of which is developed through leadership and Admissions Committee review of the information shared by families, including neuropsychological reports, educational evaluations, parent feedback, etc. Meaningfully, our overall faculty to student ratio is 1:3.
Q. What is the ratio of boys to girls?
A. The ratio within the school varies from year to year, but it is typically about 35 - 40% girls. Although it has become apparent that boys are historically more frequently diagnosed with learning differences than are girls, we strive to achieve a nearly equal ratio and work to maintain this balance every year.
Q. Do students have a homeroom?
A. The child’s first period teacher acts as a student’s homeroom teacher. At Winston Prep, all students go directly to their first period class at 8:15am, and homeroom takes place from 8:15 - 8:25. The structure of homeroom is customized based on the needs of each group of students and what we determine is the most productive way for them to begin their day. For example, while some homeroom classes are dedicated to targeting organizational and other types of executive functioning skills, some homeroom classes use this time for community building activities and to foster social interactions.
Q. What is Winston’s homework policy?
A. Our overarching goal of creating independent, self-reflective learners is directly applied in our approach to homework. We view homework as a valuable way to reinforce skills presented in the classroom, and as an assessment tool that allows teachers to evaluate the effectiveness of classroom instruction and learning strategies unique to the learning style of each student. Therefore, homework is an extension of learning that allows for daily practice of skills presented during class, and the amount and difficulty of assignments is reflective of each student’s level of skill in that area. With Dean collaboration, teachers design homework assignments to be completed without parental help. We emphasize quality over quantity , and that mistakes are a part of learning that help us understand where a student needs additional support. We have found that this approach facilitates our students’ sense of accomplishment, as well as relieving our parents of homework duty.
Q. Do I need to continue outside tutoring if my child comes to Winston?
A. While the decision to continue outside tutoring is an individual one, we find that most students at Winston Prep no longer need outside tutoring/learning support because of the customized curriculums and intense remediation they receive within the Focus program and throughout the school day. Our leadership team and faculty welcome the opportunity to discuss your child’s needs both as a WPS student, as well as their receiving support outside of the school setting.
Q. What is your cell phone policy?
A. Cell phones and portable electronic devices are not permitted during the school day. If they bring it to school, they must leave them in their lockers. They may only be used in the front office with a teacher’s permission.
Q. Is there a dress code?
A. As our students become independent adults, choice regarding dress will arise. Part of our social-emotional curriculum includes a continuing discussion about what to wear to school and work. We require students to arrive at school in clean, neat and appropriate attire.
Winston Prep’s Philosophy & Programmatic Design
Q. How does Winston’s educational philosophy determine my child’s learning cohort?
A. The design and implementation of each student’s educational program begins with an understanding of their learning profile in the context of a neuropsychological model of learning Disorders, as described in our Open House presentations. This model is a result of neuropsychological and educational research that describes the learning process as an interactive one that involves three-part processing: language based, non-verbal and executive functions, which allows us to begin to focus upon and investigate primary areas of learning difficulty. The Head of School, Assistant Head of School, and Deans assess shared student data, with students then grouped into cohorts of similar learners based on their specific academic and social-emotional needs. This allows your child’s teaching team to more precisely develop a curriculum that meets the skill and content needs of each student in a small group, so that the dynamic nature of each learning profile can be understood and addressed.
Q. Does Winston Prep use a particular decoding instructional program?
A. Winston Prep uses a variety of instructional methods to address students’ needs. Faculty development ensures that all teachers are familiar with various methods of remediation to be used with students including, but not limited to, The Orton-Gillingham method, the Wilson Reading Program, Preventing Academic Failure (PAF), and Lindamood-Bell.
Q. What is the QSIL?
A. We know the importance of academic skills, but we also know from research that there are other skills that are crucial in the lives of all students. At Winston we call these qualities the Qualities of a Sustainable and Independent Learner. Through the Science of Learning initiatives we have been able to identify the factors that contribute to success after high school and the qualities necessary to achieve them. Specifically, they are Resilience, Social Responsibility, Self-Advocacy, Self-Regulation, Self-Reflection, Communication/Social Skills, Problem Solving, and Management and Organization . Key to a student’s development of these qualities is the assessment of them, the student and the community’s understanding of them, specific individualized goals related to development, and activities that strengthen these qualities embedded throughout each WPS students’ program. All students and teachers complete the QSIL survey once a year in the spring. Reports are generated from the result, and serve as the basis for goal creation and program development for individual students. Furthermore, results are utilized in discussions with students and parents when appropriate. Sustained focus on developing the QSIL permeates every aspect of life at WPS from discussions with peers and faculty within the classroom, to clear expectations for extra-curricular activities. Students then are able to adopt these qualities into their own set of values.
Q. Is there a focus on social and emotional learning at Winston Prep?
A. At Winston Prep, we are proud of our focus on Social Emotional Learning and School Climate. The focus on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) takes many forms at Winston Prep, but comes from a belief that social emotional competencies are as important as academic ones. At Winston Prep, we strive to teach students not only how to read and write, but also the principles of conflict resolution, group decision-making, effective communication, personal responsibility, the ability to form relationships and the ability to set and achieve goals. SEL is integrated into a student’s curriculum throughout the day at Winston Prep. Within content classes at Winston, the curriculum is carefully chosen not only to broaden student’s horizons in terms of their appreciation of art and culture, but also to encourage them to take on multiple perspectives and foster empathy toward others. SEL also takes place during Focus, where teachers may pair their students with others to work on conflict resolution or social decision-making in the moment. Further emphasis is put on these characteristics via the QSIL and Winston’s grading system. Students are not only given feedback on their coursework but also on their ability to internalize the social emotional skills that will make them lifelong independent learners.
At Winston Prep we celebrate and remediate each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses. Although we are not a therapeutic school for students with primary social or emotional disorders, we recognize that many of the challenges of learning may carry over into the social realm. For example, a student with a nonverbal learning disability may have difficulty understanding the nonverbal information communicated in a social interaction. For these students, social problem solving may be one of the main components of their education. In this case, they will work closely with their Deans and teachers to analyze and understand social misunderstandings and conflicts when they occur. At Winston Prep, we view these social misunderstandings or conflicts as teachable moments from which students can further expand their social problem solving skills.
Winston Prep is proud of its partnership with the National School Climate Center (NSCC). As part of this liaison, students, teachers and parents have participated in NSCC’s annual school climate survey. Notable results included that Winston students ranked Community and Collaboration, Respect for Diversity, and Social Emotional Safety as the top three strengths of their school. Both Winston parents and teachers rated Social, Emotional and Ethical Learning as the greatest strength of WPS’s program. Winston students reported that they feel physically and emotionally safe at WPS and that their teachers respect and understand them. This climate of respect and understanding is what enables Winston students to learn about Language, Literature and Math, but also about themselves and others.
Q. Does Winston give grades?
A. Upon completion of each semester, narrative progress reports and grades are sent home to families. All students will receive a letter and number grade for each class. Grades are based upon the following criteria with consideration towards a student’s individualized goals/objectives: Progress and Performance (e.g., class work, graded assignments, homework, exams), Participation (e.g., preparedness, class participation, cooperation/collaboration), and Commitment/Effort (e.g., openness to instruction, consistency of effort, self advocacy, problem solving, willingness to take risks). Faculty review of the grading system is ongoing with students, providing a sense of understanding of expectations both within the academic setting, as well as outside of the school environment.
Q. What is the background of Winston Prep teachers?
A. Winston Prep teachers come from a variety of professional and educational backgrounds. Many WPS teachers are professionals in the field of Learning Disabilities with degrees or careers as Speech and Language Pathologists, Reading Specialists, Learning Specialists, or Special Education Teachers. Weekly faculty meetings and workshops provide development of instruction for, and understanding of, students who ‘learn differently’.
Q. What is the Summer Enrichment Program, and who usually attends?
A. The Summer Enrichment Program at Winston Preparatory School provides students with the unique opportunity to participate in an individually designed program aimed to enhance academic skills and foster independence. It is taught by Winston Prep teachers, using the same model and philosophy as during the academic year. Parents have the flexibility to create an academic program specifically matched to the needs of their child. While the program is open to Winston Prep students, it is generally attended by students from other school settings who wish to skill build over the summer months. It is also a popular option for our new students to help transition into September. To learn more and apply, please contact Marc Silver at email@example.com or call 203.229.0465 (x5645).
Q. What is Winston Prep’s application process?
A. Winston Preparatory School accepts students on a rolling basis. Applications can be acquired on our website or by contacting Meredith Fisher, Director of Admissions. Attending an open house, completing our application, and participating in a student visit is required in order to consider your child for enrollment. Upon receipt of your child’s application, the Admissions Committee will review your application in an initial screening. If the Committee believes the applicant may be an appropriate match for our program, your child will be invited for a school visit, which includes a tour, interview and in-house assessments. Through the admissions process, the Committee begins to develop an understanding of your child’s unique profile of strengths and weaknesses and identifies whether Winston Prep’s educational philosophy can meet the needs of your child’s learning profile. All applicants will be notified of the Admission Committee’s findings within three weeks of the initial screening and/or interview.
Q. What is the tuition, and how do I finance a Winston Prep Education?
A. Winston Prep’s tuition for 2019-2020 is $68,500. The tuition allows Winston to employ leading educators in their fields while also maintaining small class sizes and a low student to teacher ratio. Winston Preparatory School offers various financial assistance resources in an effort to be as accessible as possible to all of our accepted families, regardless of financial status. Loan programs, payment plans, discounted tuition, and assistance with district funding mechanisms are some of the ways WPS assists families. Families can apply for a discounted tuition by submitting SSS forms (http://sssbynais.org/) and their most recent W2 tax statements. Assistance is determined on a case-by-case basis by an internal finance committee. Currently, WPS does not have financial awards or endowed scholarships based on other qualifications such as merit, ethnic, or religious affiliations.
For all questions regarding tuition, funding, and financial aid, please contact Liz Ramirez at (646) 343-9080 ext 2205, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. Does Winston Prep offer transportation?
A. Requests for transportation to or from school should be directed to the individual’s local school district. Winston Prep does not provide transportation and all communication occurs between the family and school district regarding our school schedule, vacations and after school activities.
Q. What types of students are not appropriate for WPS?
A. Winston Prep is a school for students with specific learning disorders, such as dyslexia, ADHD and Nonverbal Learning Disorders. WPS does not accept students with primary psychological or behavioral disorders, as WPS is not a therapeutic setting.
Q. Do Winston Prep students mainstream prior to graduation?
A. Winston Prep mainstreams an average 10-15% of students each year. Our goal is for our students to become independent learners beyond the walls of Winston Prep, and utilizing the QSIL, Continuous Feedback System, and ongoing assessments allow us to monitor progress and continually challenge our students. We encourage an ongoing and open dialogue between the child’s family and Dean to determine when greater independence is achieved and to identify the types of options that may be appropriate as the next step for the student.
Q. What kind of diploma do Winston graduates earn?
A. Winston Prep is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS), which allows for students to graduate with an Independent School Diploma.
Q. How does Winston facilitate the college application process?
A. As our College Placement and Transitions Coordinator, Marcus Luce, works closely with families, Focus teachers, and the Deans to facilitate the college or post-graduate program application process. The process begins in the junior year where a meeting is scheduled for the family to meet with Mr. Luce to develop their post-Winston college or transitional plan. Winston supports families that wish to partner with outside consultants; however, ask that these relationships remain collaborative to ensure communication and responsibilities are clear for each party. We encourage families to visit colleges and programs during the summer preceding their senior year, to provide a better understanding of schools of interest. Focus instructors share in the preparation of the college application plan and are in constant communication with Mr. Luce and families to help ensure a smooth application process and transition to post-secondary options.
Q. Do students take the PSAT, SAT, or ACT?
A. Winston Prep is a College Board approved PSAT and SAT test center for Winston Prep students with accommodations. Our College Placement & Transitions Coordinator, Marcus Luce, partner with parents to determine and apply for accommodations as necessary, and coordinate on-site testing. The appropriateness of taking College Board exams is based on our working understanding of the student’s profile, and individual conversations with the student’s Dean, parents, and the Transition Team. Winston Prep does not provide on-site ACT administration.
Q. What is the Winston Innovation Lab?
A. The Winston Innovation Lab focuses on creating, refining and supporting all iterations of the Winston Preparatory School. Specifically, the Winston Innovation Lab continues 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. The Winston Innovation Lab is deeply connected to the campuses, and serves as an intellectual meeting place for the field of learning disabilities and WPS leaders and teachers. It is a place where WPS school leaders can come with their questions, curiosities and ideas to further stimulate collaboration and research. With the formal establishment of this already flourishing fifth pillar of WPS, it is hoped that WPS will be further recognized as a leader in the field of learning disorders and education, as well as deepen partnerships, funding and research opportunities.
The Winston Innovation Lab is founded on the ideas that:
- School design should be informed by an in-depth and scientific understanding of how each individual learns.
- This understanding should include and address a student’s strengths and weaknesses and is always based on an evolving understanding of cognition and learning.
- In keeping with the Continuous Feedback Process of WPS, the Winston Innovation Lab seeks to help our schools (and perhaps the field) become even more responsive to the ever-changing needs of each individual student.
- The Winston Innovation Lab seeks to foster independence and wellness through the development of the Qualities of a Sustainable and Independent Learner. This means we seek to develop ways to improve students’ resilience, communication/social skills, self-advocacy, self-regulation, self-reflection, problem-solving, social responsibility and management and organization, in addition to academic skills.
- Winston Innovation Lab believes in the power of the increased refinement of educationally related assessment and diagnosis, and seeks to do work to increasingly differentiate different types of learners from each other.
- Winston Innovation Lab believes in the power of partnerships with like-minded organizations, such as the National School Climate Center, Child Mind Institute, NVLD Project, Landmark College, NAIS, NYSAIS and NEASC.
Q. What post-secondary programs and colleges do Winston Prep graduates attend?
A. The large majority of Winston Prep students choose to continue their education after Winston Prep by attending a four-year college or university, while some attend alternative post-secondary options, including technical training programs, internship programs, and programs that continue to promote vocational and life skills, such as Winston Transitions.
We hope this information has provided an additional insight into a child’s experience at Winston Prep.
For further information, please contact our Director of Admissions, Meredith Fisher, at email@example.com or at (973) 500-6480.