Q. How many students are in each class?
A. Winston classes typically have between ten and twelve students with one head teacher. Student teachers pursuing graduate degrees at institutions like Teachers College, Columbia University, often assist in our classrooms as well. Our overall faculty to student ratio is 1:3.
Q. What is the percentage of boys to girls?
A. The percentage within the school is around 67% to 33%, boys to girls. Although it has become apparent that boys are historically more frequently diagnosed with learning differences than are girls, we have achieved a nearly equal ratio and work to maintain this balance every year.
Q. Do students have a homeroom?
A. The Focus instructor acts as the student’s “home base.” At Winston, all students go directly to their first period classes. While they may or may not have Focus first period of the day, our Focus instructors see their students every day and are frequently in touch with parents and content area teachers to communicate goals, methodologies and progress, as well as to discuss any concerns that may arise.
Q. Does Winston offer transportation?
A. Requests for transportation to or from school should be directed to the individual’s local school district. Winston does not provide transportation.
Q. What happens at lunchtime?
A. Winston provides a supervised lunchroom for students. It is at the discretion of each family to give permission for their child to leave school premises for lunch. Students who choose not to leave the building will bring lunch from home and eat communally in the gymnasium. While the majority of our older students do eat lunch out of the building, many of our younger students go out and return soon thereafter to enjoy lunch with their classmates.
Q. What is Winston’s homework policy?
A. We view homework as a valuable way to reinforce skills presented in the classroom. For the most part, students will be asked to practice skills presented during class rather than learn new information on their own, with the exception of certain classes in the upper grades. We emphasize quality over quantity, and prefer a student’s successful completion, with carryover of learned skills, of a smaller amount of homework rather than a large amount executed poorly because the assignment was too challenging. Teachers design homework assignments to be completed without parental help, and we emphasize that mistakes are a part of learning that help us understand where a student needs additional help. We have found that this approach facilitates our students’ sense of accomplishment, as well as relieving our parents of homework duty.
Q. Does Winston give grades?
A. Our grading system is based on three areas, Progress and Performance (e.g., skill development, tests, class work), Participation (e.g., preparedness, class participation), and Commitment (e.g., openness to instruction, effort, self reflection). Each of these categories plays an important role in a Winston student’s experience, and so each one contributes to the grade that a student receives at the end of each semester.
Q. What activities are available after school?
A. Click here for a description of our after-school options.
Q. What is the school day like?
A. Students arrive to their first period class at 8:15 AM and the school day ends at 3:00 PM on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday dismissal is at 12:30 PM to allow for meetings and professional workshops. Everyday, students attend 45-minute classes in Literature, Writing, History, and Focus, as well as one-hour classes in Math and Science. One-hour periods of Art and Physical Education alternate throughout the week. Students have one 45-minute period for lunch.
Q. What kind of diploma do Winston students earn?
A. Winston Prep is accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS), which allows for students to graduate with an Independent School Diploma. The NYAIS accreditation also means that Winston students are exempt from Regents exams. We have found that the Regents exemption does not effect college placement and many former Winston students have continued their education at SUNY schools without ever taking the Regents exams.
Q. Do I need to continue outside tutoring if my child comes to Winston?
A. While the decision to continue outside tutoring is individual one, we find that many students at Winston no longer need outside tutoring because of the intense remediation they receive the in the Focus program.
Q. Does Winston Prep use a particular 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 method and aspects of Lindamood-Bell method.
Q. What types of students are not appropriate for WPS?
A. Winston Preparatory School accepts students with average to superior intellectual potential, with primary learning disabilities. However, Winston Preparatory School does not accept students with primary behavioral or emotional issues.
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 (SEL) and School Climate. The focus on Social Emotional Learning 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. The Community Service Program encourages students to participate in carefully selected community service projects that emphasize the importance of helping 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 principles by their incorporation into the grading system. Students are not only given feedback on their course work but their ability to internalize the social emotional skills that will make them life-long independent learners. At Winston Prep we celebrate and remediate each students’ 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 non-verbal learning disability may have difficulty understanding the non-verbal 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 Center for Social Emotional Education (CSEE) at Columbia University. As part of this liaison, students, teachers and parents have participated in CSEE’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 and Literature and math, but also about themselves and others.
Q. What is the background of Winston Prep teachers?
A. Winston Prep teachers come from a variety of educational backgrounds. While many WPS teachers are professionals in the field of Learning Disabilities with degrees in Speech and Language, Reading, or Special Education, WPS teachers are not required to be state certified due to our independent school status.
Q. How do I afford a Winston Prep education?
A. Click here for information about financing a Winston Prep education.
Q. I have heard that WPS students often take classes at NYU. Is this so and what are the details?
A. Every year, our most independent juniors and seniors are selected to take college level classes at New York University. The College Preview Program allows high school students to experience the workload and demands of college first hand. While the high school students are held to the same standard as the college students enrolled in the course, and must meet all course requirements, they are not eligible for college credit. We are proud to say that most Winston students do well in this program.
Q. How does Winston facilitate the college application process?
A. As our College Placement and Transition Coordinator, Lauren Gallo, works closely with families, focus teachers, and deans to facilitate the college or post-graduate program application process. Click here to explore the College Placement and Transition options for Winston students.
Q. What colleges do Winston Prep graduates attend?
A. Most Winston students choose to continue their education after Winston in college, while some attend technical training programs or internship programs. Click here for a list of institutions where Winston students have been accepted over the past five years.