Winston Prep School

Winston Innovation Lab is where WPS leaders and teachers 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 is founded on the ideas that:

  1. School design should be informed by an in-depth and scientific understanding of how each individual learns.
  2. This understanding should include and address a student’s strengths and weaknesses and is always based on an evolving understanding of cognition and learning.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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. The work of the Innovation Lab establishes WPS as a nationally recognized leader in the field of learning disorders and education, as well as deepens partnerships, funding, and research opportunities.


Make a Donation to the Winston Innovation Lab

Please consider making a secure donation to the The Winston Prep 2020-2021 Campaign for the Winston Innovation Lab so that we may continue to deepen the link between the best research and school practice.

Our Professional Community

Fostering Wellness Among Middle and High School Students

This project was kicked off in the Fall of 2015 with a joint collaboration between WPS, the National Association for Independent Schools (NAIS), and the National School Climate Center (NSCC). Members of the team joined a variety of other organizations at the NAIS National Conference in February 2016 to participate in a panel discussion to begin to bring the initial data collected from a nationwide school wellness survey to other independent and public school leaders (see https://www.nais.org/Articles/Pages/2016-NAIS-Wellness-Study.aspx for the NAIS report). Other components of this project include a joint WPS/NSCC in-depth literature review about wellness, psychopathology and what schools can do to promote wellness; the creation and analysis of a short, reliable and valid survey that assesses wellness in middle and high school students in collaboration with NAIS; the further development of QSIL; and a variety of Educational Interventions designed to support wellness in the WPS community.

Lives Over Time

This study began in June 2013, and explores the experiences of individuals with learning disabilities over the period after they graduated high school in order to understand what helps them to be successful. In Phase One of this project, 36 participants who graduated from Winston Preparatory School between 2002 and 2008 participated in in-depth interviews. Qualitative analysis revealed that variables such as social support, mental health, seeking out help for academics and/or employment, optimism, and self-awareness were characteristics present in successful individuals. In Phase Two of this project WPS leaders worked to integrate the findings of this study into WPS professional development, and directly link the factors that contributed to the success of graduates to the Qualities of a Sustainable and Independent Learner. Phase Three of the Lives Over Time Study kicks off this December with the electronic distribution of a short form survey to all WPS graduates from 2000-2016 to assess their level of success and deepen findings from Phase One.

Qualities of a Sustainable and Independent Learner (QSIL)

WPS was using the self-created Quality of Sustainable and Independent Learner (QSIL) scale to assess the socio-emotional progress of students for over a decade, but formalized this project in August 2012. In Phase One of this project, WPS teamed up with the National School Climate Center (NSCC) to (1) identify and solidify the qualities that lead to independence in later life, and then (2) establish the QSIL scales as reliable and valid surveys that can be used to (i) understand a student’s social-emotional strengths and needs; and, (ii) be a reliable and valid indicator of social-emotional learning capacity. Phase Two of this project included (1) all students and faculty members completing the QSIL survey twice a year at all campuses, (2) the completion of a reporting module to allow for immediate results of the survey to be available to all WPS faculty members, (3) the distribution and discussion of QSIL results to WPSNJ, WPSCT and Winston Transitions families (WPSNY will begin distribution this spring), and (4) the ongoing development of guidelines for educators when working with students to encourage the development of these qualities. Phase Three will include (1) using the QSIL Survey with a variety of mainstream schools to establish reliability, (2) the continuation of the development of guidelines for educators, (3) advanced professional development and case study analysis for WPS teachers and leaders, and (4) establishing the relationship between QSIL scores and student outcomes.

WPS Teacher Excellence and Leadership Development Program

WPS Teacher Excellence and Leadership Development Programwas developed in 2012, and kicked off in January 2013. The program is aimed at developing, identifying, celebrating and rewarding WPS’s most expert teachers. It is conducted as a mini-graduate school course that enhances faculty members’ acquisition and utilization of the knowledge essential to becoming an expert learning specialist at WPS. Those faculty members that achieve this most expert level have been eligible for future leadership roles as well as received a monetary bonus. The initiative is open to any staff member who has completed at least two years at WPS. Throughout the year participants have been provided with relevant readings, participated in bi-monthly workshops and discussions, and worked to expertly incorporate knowledge into practice. To date, 79 faculty members have successfully completed the program, 23 of them have been promoted to leadership roles, and 14 participants are currently enrolled this year.