The students all left class and walked downstairs. “Where are you guys heading?” Principal Todd Graves asked.
“Outside!” they said. “We’re going to the basketball courts to practice a play that we’re doing for WIN time, the plot line for Scaredy Squirrel.” When they got to the courts, they broke up into groups. Each group did a skit on a different part of the book Scaredy Squirrel by Mélanie Watt. Students played squirrels, killer bees, narrators, and even trees as they worked through the story’s exposition, rising action, climax, and falling action.
In other classrooms, students worked together to solve math puzzles projected on the screen, conducted experiments, or read aloud from novels. The classes were all part of WIN time, an innovative program that allows students at Sunset Ridge to find new ways to achieve academically.
Students in Anja Felton's WIN Time class work on a problem together.
WIN stands for What I Need. Every student at Sunset Ridge participates in the WIN time program three times a year. It creates focus on the areas where each student could see improvement or seek more challenges, based on standardized assessments.
The WIN time session assigns each student to a particular subject area. The students leave their regular classrooms and go to spend a period in a WIN time classroom with other students from their grade. Each student is challenged to achieve at his or her own level.
WIN provides a wide range of academic support, including informational comprehension, literature, numbers and operations, algebraic thinking, and more. They even have an eighth-grade math class—for sixth grade students.
The program changes a little each session as the teachers determine what is working best for their students. Graves said the results have been overwhelmingly positive. “When we asked students for feedback, ‘Did WIN help me target an area that I needed specific help in?’ almost 100% of the students said yes.”
The students on the basketball court are having a great time creating their skits. Some of them stand on top of the concrete bases, pretending to be up in trees. Graves watches with a smile. “I think of all the things we’ve done here at Sunset Ridge, one of the things I’m most proud of for our kids is WIN time,” Graves said. “It’s a pretty cool thing to watch.”
Brianne Irons' WIN Time class gathers on the basketball court.
Students in Brianne Irons' WIN Time class prepare their skit for Scaredy Squirrel.