GEORGE—The classroom isn’t always set up to learn life skills, but the George-Little Rock School District is working to change that.
For the past two years, the district has implemented what it calls WIN Time — or What I Need.
The intervention period is about half the length of a regular class and serves as a place for students to practice extra exercises that don’t fit well into any one subject. After starting in grades TK-8, this semester is the first for WIN Time at the high school in George.
“WIN Time in the high school is different than it is at the other levels,” said instructional coach Michele Johnson. “But I believe that it provides time for students and staff to build relationships, work on some things that are sometimes hard to fit into a regular class period, as well as provide the extra support that students need for their classes.”
Her role with the district includes identifying and improving areas where day-to-day teaching falls short. She was quick to say that the program only works with buy-in from faculty and students alike.
“This is definitely not a job that is implemented by one person,” Johnson said. “There are many teachers and administrators involved in the process at each level. If it was only one or two people involved, it would not be as successful as it has been.”
High school WIN Time is four times weekly, every day except for Wednesdays because of early dismissal.
A typical period can include anything from team-building activities to video seminars, but the goal is always to fill the gaps in textbook learning. Topics include social media, bullying and mindfulness.
At the 9-12 level, the period’s full name is “WIN/Advisory Time” which principal Tyler Glanzer said reflects the interpersonal purpose of the midmorning class. He said this angle helps the district develop students in more areas than just academic achievement.
“We didn’t want it to turn into a 20-minute study hall or a time-passer by any means,” Glanzer said.
The addition in the George-Little Rock is part of a larger trend in education toward this type of soft skills instruction. Glanzer said he is using curricula he researched in the summer to prepare lessons he thinks students will find most valuable.
The extra 20 minutes also gives the administration a chance to coordinate schoolwide activities, such as environment surveys that gauge how students feel socially while on campus. Glanzer said this will set up the high school for better learning in the future.
“My plan, anyway, for the second semester is to put some of those lessons to work and give kids time during this WIN Time to work on an actual project,” he said.
Those passion projects are something the school has done in the past. Students take a week to research and prepare a presentation of their choosing, something the principal said has “always been pretty good learning for our kids.”
“We don’t necessarily offer a class that is designated for things like that,” Glanzer said. “We wanted to institute a time in our day to address some of those types of skills.”
Johnson had a similar summary of the program. As instructional coach, she works with the Northwest Area Education Agency, which seeks to improve the classroom in all aspects. She said WIN Time will go a long way toward that goal.
“Our staff is excited to see the impact that our intervention time has had on our students’ success,” Johnson said. “We have had a lot of support from our NWAEA partners, and we feel like we are on track to continue to make an impact on student learning.”