Dear Winston Families, Colleagues and Friends,
From moment to moment, Winston Prep leaders and teachers are applying the Continuous Feedback System, translating student responses into a deeper understanding of that individual learner’s strengths and needs, ever refining their programming to reflect that understanding. Throughout each day leaders and teachers are sharing this information with one another, allowing for an unmatched cohesiveness in understanding and explicit development of skills. The time dedicated to understanding our students once classes are dismissed for the day are an invaluable component to this continuous process.
Winston Prep leaders and faculty participate in professional development on both a daily and a weekly basis. But many parents and professionals we speak to wonder: what exactly does this essential time entail? Here is a selection of how our faculty dedicates their time to deepen their expertise.
Small Group Professional Development Presentations
WPS campus leaders and faculty organize topics to present throughout the year. Several presentations and workshops are scheduled on a weekly basis and faculty members have the opportunity to choose which session to attend. These workshops are held both in-person and virtually and range from sharing and practicing an evidence-based learning strategy to developing a deeper understanding of how to develop mathematical thinking.
Class Group Meetings
Each week, class group meetings are scheduled for all instructors who work with a particular group. Led by the Academic Dean of the class group, a discussion centers on the cognitive and academic underpinnings of each individual student in the group, aiming to deepen our instructors’ understanding of the students’ learning profiles while discussing learning objectives, strategies and methods that are effective for each student and the group as a whole.
Teacher Excellence and Leadership Development
A program designed as a mini-graduate school course by the Winston Innovation Lab team, the TELD program measures faculty members’ acquisition of the knowledge essential to becoming an expert learning specialist and leader at WPS. 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. Throughout the year, participants are provided with relevant readings, participate in bi-monthly seminars and discussions, and work to expertly incorporate knowledge into practice.
Another WIL professional development program designed for all new faculty members, the learning begins in the summer prior to students’ arrival in September and continues throughout the fall semester. With WIL leaders presenting on various topics, first-year faculty members have the opportunity to learn alongside their peers from all WPS campuses. The summer workshops focus on immersing new faculty in understanding the WPS mission and philosophy by diving deep into the Qualities of a Sustainable and Independent Learner, the Continuous Feedback System, and the Neuropsychological Paradigm of Learning and Learning Disorders, while cultivating their ‘toolbox’ of knowledge, assessment, and best practices. The fall semester includes a 6-session series aimed at supporting the application of this understanding through current student case study discussions and evidence-based programming design.
WIL Faculty Learning Portal
There are also resources for leaders and faculty to learn ‘on-demand’. An in-house virtual library, the Faculty Learning Portal houses recorded professional development and teaching resources from all campuses, WIL-generated summaries of recent research and how to apply this research to our work, and a live collaborative problem-solving page where faculty can pose a question or share an idea with faculty from all WPS campuses. The Innovation Lab also creates presentations for the Faculty Learning Portal to further support professional development. These presentations range from designing homework based upon current research to developing a deeper understanding of visual-spatial skills, how these skills support learning, and how to design programming to support the development of these skills.
In addition to individual faculty members meeting with leadership throughout the week to continue ongoing learning, here is an example of what a teacher’s group professional development schedule might look like at Winston Prep:
|Type of Professional Development||Description|
|Small Group: Strategy Share||Obligation/Aspiration/Negotiation: A Method to Prioritize Tasks|
|Small Group: Campus-Based Professional Development||Applying Inductive Learning Methods to Support Connections, Comprehension, and Recall|
|Winston 101||Understanding NLD: Case Study Exploration|
|WIL Faculty Learning Portal||View WIL Understanding Working Memory|
|Group 16 Meeting||How working memory impacts performance of students in this group and effective methods to develop these skills.|
Each professional development opportunity is designed to continually support our faculty in actualizing the WPS mission, facilitating the independence and meaningful participation of our students by implementing research and evidence-based models.