WIN Academy stirs excitement at campuses, reinvigorating students and teachers
The innovative new WIN Academy, which the Socorro Independent School District launched this school year, has Team SISD students and teachers excited about new approaches to teaching and learning.
The excitement was evident the first two weeks of school as students, teachers and parents alike expressed their pride in being part of the one-of-a-kind program. The WIN Academy, which is designed to help students who have not been successful in a “traditional” school setting, also has spread a greater focus on helping all students succeed districtwide.
“I see great momentum among not only our WIN students but all students,” said SISD School Improvement Officer Holly Fields. “The WIN teachers have set high expectations for their WIN students and these students have welcomed the challenge willingly. It has become a contagious culture that all students want to be a part of.”
The WIN Academy started this year at 10 SISD schools. The program is serving about 20 students in grades second through fifth at eight schools, in third grade at one elementary school and sixth grade at one middle school.
The principals at the schools said the WIN Academy has generated lots of interest among students, staff and the community. While the campuses are adjusting to new schedules and different approaches to the school day, the overall launch has been extremely positive.
“The success we have seen up to this point is due to the commitment of all stakeholders, including the superintendent, principals, teachers, parents, students and District Service Center personnel,” said Chief Academic Officer Alisa C. Zapata-Farmer.
At Campestre Elementary School, principal Rosie Vasquez said the WIN Academy has emerged as the high point of the new school year with many students asking how they, too, can be part of the program.
“Visitors to the school are saying ‘Show me the WIN Academy classes,’” Vasquez said. “The excitement is across the campus. It’s a great thing!”
Students have experienced a positive start in the WIN Academy. They have been adjusting to a longer school day, a double dose of reading and math daily, and they eagerly started work on their new laptops and tablets.
“They love the technology. Also, students that may have exhibited some behavior issues last school year are responding with a better attitude toward school and learning,” Fields said. “They feel honored to be a part of the WIN Academy and their teachers have gone above and beyond to make them feel so special.”
Mission Ridge Elementary students enjoyed their first few weeks back in school and in the WIN Academy.
“This year we are going to use our tablets to do math, reading and science. Now, we’re not going to do it with paper, we’re going to do it on our tablets,” said Andrea Armendariz, a third grader at Mission Ridge. “It’s the first time I’m going to use a tablet. It makes me feel good and happy.”
As the program progresses, school and district staff will continue to refine the technology, resources, scheduling and all aspects to ensure the WIN Academy achieves its overarching goal – give students who need extra help two or more years’ worth of knowledge in a fast track, demanding, flexible education system.
In addition, students and teachers are establishing relationships that will guide them toward their future success. The students in the program will be with the same teacher for multiple years so that they receive more personalized learning from educators that know them and treat them as if they are their own children.
Mission Ridge third grader Gino Salas is happy with his teacher and experience in the WIN Academy.
“The teacher is nice. She teaches us how to read and she teaches us a lot of stuff. She reads us stories. I’m going to have fun with her,” Salas said.