WIL E-BLAST

October, 2018


Dear Winston Families, Colleagues and Friends,

The Winston Innovation Lab, in a long-standing collaboration with the National School Climate Center (www.schoolclimate.org), continues our commitment to the Lives Over Time Project. This initiative consists of a multi-faceted, longitudinal study focusing on understanding the long-term impact of the WPS model, identifying what our students retain after graduation, understanding what skills and traits are most tied to success, and how we, as educators, can apply what we have learned to our methods and programming to better prepare our students for a lifetime of success.

Last year, emphasis was placed on expanding our alumni base through the creation of a monthly alumni newsletter, building excitement about alumni events, and encouraging alumni to reach out with updates. This expanded alumni base will help us continue to support and learn from our former students. Recently, the Lives Over Time online survey was distributed to alumni dating back to the graduating class of 2000. Once the online survey is closed in late fall, the NSCC research team will coordinate in-person alumni focus groups to further investigate what qualities and experiences are tied to later success. In conjunction with the Lives Over Time Project and the Qualities of a Sustainable and Independent Learner Project, the NSCC research team will be conducting campus observations in addition to student and faculty focus groups throughout the fall to further document best practices as they relate to our approach to social-emotional learning and how that determines success of WPS graduates. This data will help us further develop tools and strategies for the classroom, inform individualized programming, and support our ability to facilitate the internalization and application of these tools and strategies post-Winston, further supporting our ongoing mission:

…to “facilitate the independence and meaningful participation of students with specific learning disorders through a Continuous Feedback System that develops skill acquisition and the Qualities of a Sustainable and Independent Learner. WPS also seeks to influence the field of education with research and implementation models that achieve these ends, in this way.”

December, 2018

Dear Winston Families, Colleagues and Friends,

Understanding. The first step in Winston Prep’s foundational Continuous Feedback System. Truly continuous, understanding is an ever-evolving process as both students and science grow and transform. The Winston Innovation Lab was developed to support WPS leaders and teachers in their aim to continually deepen and refine their understanding of our students in a scientifically-driven way, as well as to connect with the education community at large, establishing the WPS name as a leader in the field. We accomplish this through dedicated participation in research, collaborations and professional development. How do we link current science and understanding to the work we do each and every day? Through professional development programs such as Teacher Excellence and Leadership Development (TELD) and the newly launched Winston 101 program. Through projects such as the Faculty Learning Portal which acts as a virtual library of research and resources, connecting each of the WPS campuses as one collaborative community. Through our own in-house research and analysis. Through partnerships and collaborative initiatives with well-established organizations such as the National School Climate Center, the Child Mind Institute, the NVLD Project, and Landmark College.

Over the next few months we will be sharing an inside look on what each of these initiatives entail and how the Winston Innovation Lab connects each and everything we do to understanding our students in a meaningful and effective way.

January, 2019

Dear Winston Families, Colleagues and Friends,

The Winston Innovation Lab is dedicated to maintaining faculty excellence through professional development aimed at continually promoting our teachers’ ability to reach each individual student, contributing to a faculty development program like no other. The Winston Innovation Lab’s passionate commitment to deepening our understanding of our students by linking science to the work we do and then sharing that understanding with our campuses leads to an unmatched community of learning specialists working with our students each and every day. Here’s an inside look into two ways we’ve been doing just that.

We are excited to introduce a new program the Winston Innovation Lab has developed for 1st year Winston Prep teachers: Winston 101. Beyond campus-based orientation and professional development led by our leadership teams, first year teachers across campuses also have the opportunity to further develop a deep knowledge of Winston Prep’s foundation and educational philosophy and how we go about fulfilling our mission through a professional development series. Thus far, we have completed four presentations: Winston Is… where we had an in depth discussion of the WPS mission, Understanding and Developing the QSIL where we focused on deepening an understanding of each of the qualities and how to facilitate awareness, development and application of these skills in varying contexts, Understanding Assessment: Applying the Continuous Feedback System where we focused on understanding how to apply analysis of student responses to programming, and Understanding Assessment: Formal Testing where faculty took a deep dive into understanding formal testing measures and how that translates into the classroom. An emphasis has been placed on the importance of supporting a teaching culture that embraces curiosity, learning, and innovation; always striving to deepen our understanding of our students. The Winston 101 program invites questions and conversation amongst colleagues across our campuses, connecting all faculty in an ongoing conversation.

Another initiative which has been developed to connect all faculty and share in the ongoing learning and shared expertise is Winston Innovation Lab’s Faculty Learning Portal. Launched at the start of the 2018 school year, the Faculty Learning Portal was designed to be an ever-developing virtual library where faculty from all WPS campuses can learn from one another through shared research, tools and strategies, and recorded professional development presentations which includes our Winston 101 sessions. Additionally, the Faculty Learning Portal houses a Collaborative Problem Solving page where faculty members can start a conversation with the entire WPS teaching community, sharing the wealth of knowledge and understanding our dedicated learning specialists possess while nurturing the innovation that happens each and every day.

These are just two ways in which the work of the Winston Innovation Lab continues to nurture the development of our community’s understanding of our students through learning initiatives, research, professional development, and collaboration with the education community. Stay tuned to learn more about how the Winston Innovation Lab links current science and understanding to the work we do with our students each and every day.

March, 2019

Dear Winston Families, Colleagues and Friends,

The Winston Innovation Lab’s work of maintaining faculty excellence through professional development is a priority and yields impressive results. Our leadership and teaching staff is unmatched in their understanding of how to reach each individual student through the application of science and collaboration. This is due partly to our unparalleled Teacher Excellence and Leadership Development Program (TELD). The Teacher Excellence and Leadership Development Program is an exceptional example of the way in which the Winston Innovation Lab works to develop our teaching community’s level of expertise in understanding our students and transferring that knowledge into the classroom each day.

We are excited to kick off our 7th year of the Teacher Excellence and Leadership Development Program, reaching nearly 80 participants since launching the initiative in 2013. The TELD program is run as a mini-graduate school course by the Winston Innovation Lab team, and measures faculty members’ acquisition of the knowledge essential to becoming an expert learning specialist and leader at WPS. Those faculty members that achieve this most expert level receive a monetary bonus and are considered for future leadership roles. The program is open to any staff member who has completed at least two years at WPS and has been nominated by their Head of School. Twice a month for an entire calendar year, we work closely with this select group of WPS instructors who already excel at what they do and immerse them in readings, research, case studies, and in-depth discussions linked to learning and our students. Some examples of topics covered are Measurement & Assessment, Learning & Cognition, Legal Foundations & Funding, Social Implications of Learning Disabilities, Understanding, Programming, & Case Studies regarding Nonverbal Learning Disabilities, Executive Functioning Difficulties, & Dyslexia, and Leading & Learning.

Successfully concluding our class of 2018, we thought we would share a few of the comments we’ve received from this most recent class of learning experts:

The Teacher Excellence and Leadership Development Program is one of the many ways in which the Winston Innovation Lab supports the development of understanding and celebrates those who excel at the work we do. Providing this unique opportunity encourages our expert learning specialists to deepen their knowledge, fostering their intrinsic curiosity and motivation to understand our students at the deepest level, paving the way for pioneering innovation and success.  We hope that you can join us at this year’s Winston Benefit where our Live Auction will raise funds specifically for the Teacher Excellence Program! More information can be found here.

April, 2019

Dear Winston Families, Colleagues and Friends,

In keeping with the WPS mission, the Winston Innovation Lab’s efforts towards influencing the field of education with research and implementation models speaks directly to our professional partnerships with organizations such as The NVLD Project and the Child Mind Institute. Through these partnerships we are directly involved in research and outreach initiatives, supporting our students and families of students with specific learning disorders by deepening our understanding of how to develop skills while facilitating independence.

Innovation Lab Team members have been working with the NVLD Project researchers and leaders in an ongoing way by clarifying the definition of NVLD, supporting efforts to include the diagnosis in the DSM, and directly contributing to the research effort. Presentations such as the highly successful Nonverbal Learning Disorders: Linking Research to Practice, presented jointly by Elizabeth Mendelsohn and Amy Margolis, Ph.D., a Principal Investigator of the NVLD Project, at the Learning Disabilities Association Annual International Conference in Fort Worth, Texas, continue to influence the field of education. Additionally, we began working with NVLD Project leaders on developing tools aimed towards educating educators and arming parents with a more widespread understanding of NVLD, how it can manifest in the classroom and at home, and various approaches that support students who struggle with this learning disorder.

You might be familiar with the WPS/Child Mind Institute collaboration through the Healthy Brain Network research partnership where WPS students can participate and contribute to research that aims to answer questions about brain development in order to guide programming and practice and one day develop objective diagnostic tools. Participation in this program allows families to receive a no-cost, comprehensive learning evaluation. This collaboration illustrates the WPS commitment to research-informed education, using in-depth assessments to gain an understanding of students as individuals and developing programming to meet the individual needs of each of our students as well as influencing the field of education as a whole. Learn more about the WPS/HBN partnership here. Recently, the WPS/CMI partnership has expanded to include an exciting new project, Mindlogger, an informatics tool that initially will deepen our understanding and facilitate the independence and meaningful participation of students. Looking into future applications, the Innovation Lab envisions this tool to have endless potential for deepening our research impact, developing postgraduate tools and support, as well as further developing ongoing projects such as Lives Over Time and QSIL development.

Continuing to cultivate our professional partnerships with respected institutions such as the NVLD Project and the Child Mind Institute, directly supports the work we do with our students. Harmoniously, being a part of cutting edge research and continuing our engagement with the field of education, beyond the walls of Winston Prep, influences how the world understands all students with specific learning disorders. This would not be possible without your support, so we thank you.

May, 2019

WPS PROFESSIONAL COLLABORATIONS LANDMARK COLLEGE

Dear Winston Families, Colleagues and Friends,

Aligned with the WPS mission, the Winston Innovation Lab is dedicated to providing programming that allows our students to become independent learners while influencing the field of education. One way in which the Innovation Lab team does this is through our partnership with Landmark College.

WPS and Landmark College have partnered on a variety of projects and collaborations to influence the field of education as we explore ways in which we can eradicate the achievement gap between high school and college for all learners. Most recently, Elizabeth Mendelsohn joined a group of experts in San Francisco to present Promoting the Future Success of Students with Learning Disabilities at Landmark College’s Winter Institute. This Institute brought together educators from across the nation who were focused on the transitional periods between high school, college and beyond.

Closer to home, the participation and development of the Landmark College Dual Enrollment program is one way in which the Winston Innovation Lab aims to specifically facilitate the growth of the Qualities of an Independent Learner in each of our students as these are the skills that matter most. When appropriate, WPS juniors, seniors and Transitions students have the opportunity to enroll in online college courses such as Creative Writing, Introduction to Sociology, Humanities II: Renaissance to the Present, Web Design and Development, Introduction to Business, and Introduction to Programming. Participation affords students practice applying valuable skills such as self-advocacy, self-reflection, problem solving, time management and organization, self-regulation, and social communication skills with the support of their Winston Prep team.

By participating in this program, students gain experience in their ability to interact with college professors, gain a sense of expectations for college class demands, work collaboratively with peer-directed groups, and learn more about their individual learning needs and strengths within a real world context while setting goals and establishing a means to achieve these goals within the supportive WPS environment. Concurrently, it helps

Winston educators deepen their understanding of the learning needs and strengths of the individual students participating in the program while also informing overall programmatic refinement as we work to meet the needs of our entire student body. To learn more watch: WPS/Landmark Dual Enrollment Program Partnership.