Vision for Teaching & Learning

Shared Vision

The Winnetka Public Schools community empowers every student to flourish in an innovative, experiential environment. We support and challenge all learners to actively engage in continual growth and achievement to make a meaningful difference in the world.

Strategic Plan

Professional Learning
Environmental Design
21st-Century Experiential Learning

Progressive Education 2.0

Key Principles:

  • Experiential Learning – facilitating “learning-by-doing”
  • Progressive Education – attending to the whole child and experiential learning
  • Modern Neuroscience – understanding how and why children learn
  • Personalized Learning – tailoring and pacing learning to the individual needs, skills, and interests of each student
  • 21st-Century Tools and Environments – offering learning spaces that reflect the resources and choices which students will face in high school, university, and the workplace

What are the impacts?

Learning spaces are modernized to meet evolving instructional demands and provide teachers with environmental tools to adapt instruction for purposeful and varied learning configurations and experiences. These spaces need to be flexible for classes to easily move from one modality to another, have options for student choice in work space, and have furniture that is intentionally aligned with child development.

Higher levels of student engagement, achievement, and wellness are fostered by environmental factors, such as lighting, air quality, thermal comfort, connections to nature, ergonomics, and classroom design.

Hubbard Woods Trout Release, 2018

Grade Level Structure

Several grade level configurations were assessed to determine how the facilities could support the District’s vision for teaching and learning and address enrollment projections. Please visit the Process page to learn more.

The goal for any grade level structure in the District was to reduce unnecessary transitions, keep appropriate development groups together, and to further current best practices within the District. The final grade level structure of K-4/5-8 allows for a continued focus on early childhood education in the elementary schools, with 4th graders having leadership opportunities before advancing to a different facility. A new 5-8 configuration will eliminate one transition, provide for higher levels of collaboration, and foster the expansion of the District’s current teaming structure.

Student-Centered Design

In addition to ensuring that all District facilities meet ADA requirements, Winnetka D36 is committed to student-centered design that maximizes access for all students, staff, and visitors. This access may be improved through building design, furniture, or technology that makes it easier for all learners to participate a lesson. In addition to ensuring access, student-centered design elements the District aims for include:

  • Flexible, comfortable furniture that is easy to move, in a variety of heights and sizes to meet students’ varying needs and enhance collaboration
  • Abundant natural light, which research has shown is linked to positive atmosphere and positive learning outcomes
  • Mobile walls or partitions, turning a single space into a multipurpose one for collaboration or privacy
  • Technology to support teaching and learning incorporated throughout classrooms, common areas, and libraries
  • Modern safety features and technology to best protect students and staff in the event in an emergency
  • Access to outdoor and indoor green spaces for hands-on learning
  • Energy efficient features that result in cost savings and stewardship of natural resources
  • Temperature conditions in alignment with research on thermal health and learning
VS furniture in a Crow Island classroom