Susan Fernández wears the hats of Teacher, Mom, Goal-Setter and Guide. Susan believes the goal of education is to develop life-long learners. She holds a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction and has been teaching students in elementary through high school for fifteen years.
Despite her traditional background in education, Fernández is a homeschooling mom of two kids. Susan brings the homeschooling experience to Win Room School House. She believes the elevated expectations in a homeschooling environment can be brought to all students, along with the tools and guidance to exceed those expectations.
Susan facilitates learning by intentionally providing opportunities to learn, and by taking advantage of teachable moments presented in daily living. Every child has their own distinct personality and learning style. Susan's background in Curriculum and Instruction is utilized to create lessons incorporating unique interests of students. Susan's deep respect for children makes her a natural fit for the Win Room School House.
When my son was having difficulty writing, I created lesson plans that revolved around his favorite superheroes.
Mompreneur Angela Refsland believes that all children have a desire to learn, grow and excel. Refsland has over ten years experience in teaching and coaching children. Her focus in the classroom is instilling intrinsic motivation while challenging kids to think bigger.
Refsland was a star student growing up but realized her junior year of high school that the "work hard, get good grades, go to college, get a great job" mantra was not a sure-fire method for success.
Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia brought on by Over-Achiever-itis she was forced to slow down and rethink her future. For the benefit of her physical health she chose to drop out of high school and attend college early. Not wanting to rack up any more student loans without a career in mind Angela headed for the real world.
Without a high school or college diploma Angela's job options were limited, so she started freelancing as a web designer. Ten years later her company, Waking Girl Web Design, has built and maintains hundreds of websites.
Refsland contracts work to recent San Antonio graduates as well as high school students around the world. She observes a startling disconnect between what students are learning in school and what they actually need to know to survive in the real world and business world.
It is Refsland's goal to instill lifelong survival skills of creativity and confidence that every student deserves.
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” – W.B. Yeats
Javier Padrón's career in teaching and inspiring started when he was training for the 2004 Olympics. After a career-stopping injury he turned to coaching gymnastics to kids of all ages. Javi believes everyone has a desire to succeed and it is fear that keeps students from achieving their goals.
Javi creates an atmosphere of fun and high expectations, guiding students to excel with smiles on their faces.
A graduate of the San Antonio school system, Javier has observed a disconnect between what is taught in school and the mentality needed to survive in the real world.
Padrón is looking forward to being amazed by the goals that students at Win Room School House set for themselves, and is planning to set some big goals, too!
San Antonio welcomes the WIN Room School House with a K-5th summer program that's sure to please children and parents alike.
WIN appeals to busy parents with easy Monday-Friday scheduling and full and half day options, and did we mention the pricing?! WIN!
Students are given a safe and respectful environment to test out that creative and independent thinking, and dive into the things they love!
A $25 deposit holds your spot, giving you a few more weeks to plan your summer.
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Have questions? We can't wait to hear them!
Today I headed out to continue the search for the perfect school for my daughter. I saw a banner over the weekend promoting a new charter school. I immediately checked it out on the web, and was super excited about the great find.
The school sounded perfect: science, engineering, and did I mention, FREE!? My daughter absolutely loves problem-solving, and is very skilled in 3-Dimensional thinking and building. I thought this would be perfect. She could use her skills, hone her skills, and be celebrated for her intelligence.
Oh, everything was working out perfectly.
I filled out the online application. I called the school. Three times. On two different days. No response. I checked out their calendar. I saw that they were hosting a registration session at their main campus. TODAY! Great, that must be why they're not answering the phone--they're busy chatting with parents, answering questions, and giving high-fives to kids!
Oh, I'm so naive!
I headed out into the great outdoors of San Antonio. First stop: the campus of interest. I wanted to make sure the drive to school would be reasonable, and that the school building had windows. I spoke briefly with the janitor; he is the hero of this story. He was helpful (opened the door, even though it was locked, and they were not open for business), he gave me tons of relevant information (the back story of how the charter school came to acquire use of the ex-Catholic school, and that he was nervous the charter school wouldn't have everything up to code by August), and he let me poke around to see if the building was up to my standards.
The building was fine. It was an operating school until 2012, so it just needed a little cleaning and maintenance. Solid building, somewhat scary neighborhood, across train tracks that may involve a 10 minute wait from time to time. Most important, it had lots of windows and it didn't smell weird. So I was fine with it.
Now I just needed to meet the staff, the administration, get a feel for what the school was all about. Onto the main campus.
It's just too bad that the folks who build websites and do the marketing aren't the ones running all these schools, businesses, countries, apartment complexes. I mean really--why can't things really be as great as a graphic designer imagines it to be? Why can't a school be as amazing as their slogan and web copy?
After a long fight with my GPS and several closed roads (road construction), I ended up at the military base, at Brooks Academy's main campus. Hurray! I made it!
I walked in, composing myself from the frustrating drive.
A few volunteers asked if I was here for registration. They directed me down the hall. And then I spoke to a gentleman with a clipboard. He asked for my child's name and then looked back at me, "Did you receive an acceptance letter?"
"Well you have to be accepted to register."
And that's when I wish I could mind-meld, so that someone could comprehend everything that has happened up to this point. All the schools I've looked at, all the hope, all the time I've wasted.
He told me to sit and wait for the registrar who would have more answers. I waited for 2 minutes. Then returned and asked him if he could just answer a few basic questions:
-Do you have any room in Kindergarten at the downtown campus?
Maybe. *shuffles papers, looking for something that will never be there.* Here, take a business card.
-No one answers this phone number.
Oh, that's because our office staff is on vacation.
[Business Faux Pas #103808042: Do not run a big advertising campaign and then walk away from your phone.]
-If my daughter is accepted, will I need to return here to register?
-Wow, you guys are really efficient.
At this point the registrar appeared. I walked over to her and repeated the conversation above.
Except she wouldn't look me in the eyes. Which was disconcerting. But, I suppose by this time, I was pretty disconcerting to look at!
Realizing that the staff would never see parents or students as clients with value, I resolved that I would never need to make this dusty drive again.
And so the school hunt continues.
Hot Tips for Schools:
Please let me know if you want me as a client at your school!
Common Core Standards
Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
LESSON PLAN: CONNECT COUNTING TO CARDINALITY
Food is an exciting educational tool, and the best place to find food is the grocery store!
Ask your student to make a list of snacks he/she would like to have. The list can be squiggles or drawings, with or without meanings. Planning is a great real-life habit!
Good habits: Making shopping lists!
Now, take a field trip to the grocery store.
Drawing numbers on snacks.
A SNACK A DAY, A NUMBER A DAY!
This lesson works best if it's done on the first day of the month! Go to the grocery store. Grab a cart for yourself and a cart for your student. Explain that the student gets to pick out 30 (or 31) snacks. One for each day of the month.
Shop alongside your student, and try not to interfere. Depending on your student's snack habits, feel free to establish parameters on what is allowed (or not) into the cart. Try to establish parameters before the shopping begins (price, sugar content, allergens, etc.).
If you're watching the budget, you may want to review your student's items before checking out. Let your student go through the line alone, if they're up for it, and the grocery store staff is positive.
Discuss the purchases on the way home, as well as the next step of the lesson: when you get home, all the snack items will be counted, and numbered according to which day the item will be eaten. You may want to ask questions like, "Which item do you want to eat the most? Which one are you most excited about?"
Unload the groceries and start counting!
Allow your student to go about the process orderly or haphazardly. Items can be lined up, or randomly grabbed and numbered.
Have a calendar available for referencing. When your student has a question about how to write a number, show the number on the calendar. Show on the calendar how each day will have a snack and the number on the snack will match the number on the calendar.
Your student may have a tendency to number all of the yogurts first, and all the granola bars second. That's ok! When your student gets bored with yogurt on Day 5, there will be a great learning opportunity! Encourage your student to make connections between the snacks and the days of the month, and the reality of eating granola bars all week. Allow your student to re-number the snacks or trade the labels, if this idea occurs to the student.
Perfection in writing numbers is not imperative. Focus on the concept and take note of which numbers need help.
By focusing on big-picture concepts rather than details, students will feel the joy of knowing more, and the resulting confidence will aid in faster mastery of the details.
Prepare to review this lesson each day for the next month! Put the snacks in a box, locked cupboard, shelf on the refrigerator--and keep your student out of the lesson snacks! If the student breaks into the snack stash, use this to dive into a bigger, real-life lesson.
REAL LIFE LESSONS: PLANNING AHEAD TALKING POINTS
If your student has a business mentor, encourage your student to share the progress of this lesson. Suggest that the student invite the mentor over for snacks! Allow your student to do the math on sharing one of the 30 snacks! Is there a creative solution, a win-win?
Let your student explain the Snack Counting Lesson to the mentor. Ask the mentor to share any stories of planning (adjusting, failing, succeeding, persevering).
If possible, visit the mentor's business to see how important Planning Ahead is to a business!
Common Core Standards
Know number names and the count sequence:
Count to 100 by ones and by tens.
LESSON PLAN: COUNTING BY TENS
Counting by tens is much more exciting than counting by ones! Start with tens, provide relevance, and then work back!
See how high the student can count aloud. Count with the student to get him/her started, if necessary. Make a note of which number the student reaches. The student should be able to count past ten before doing this lesson.
Continue to count 10 beads into each compartment of the muffin pan. Repeat the total, by going back and counting by ones up to ten, then up to twenty, then up to thirty, and so on. Let the student prove that there really are 30 or 40 beads in the pan.
At each set of 10, show the student what the numbers look like, by drawing it on the marker board: 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60.
Take a break when you reach 60! Answer any questions the student may have, and move on to a non-math-related activity.
Later, ask the student to pick out his/her "smartest" toys or toys that "most want to learn." Explain that the student is the teacher, and the toys really want to learn what was discussed earlier. Set the toys up so they can watch "the teacher."
Make all materials available to the child. Step back and let the child do the teaching. Chime in only if the child has hesitation or asks a direct question. If the student is overwhelmed, remind the "classroom" of toys to pay attention and be good listeners to their teacher. Sometimes this is all that's needed to boost a child's confidence and get them back on track to teaching!
In the photos above, the student learned to count to 60. Then, later, the student taught her toys how to count to 100. The student took the lesson in a slightly different direction. She asked for guidance in naming the numbers (70, 80, 90, 100), but figured out the numbers in between.
When your student is doing the teaching, pay close attention to where you weren't clear in your lesson. Make notes, review and correct with the child the next day. The student does not need to repeat your lesson plan perfectly; the student's teaching will demonstrate an understanding of the concepts, and will assess what areas need more focus.
It can be scary to teach a new skill; give your little teacher lots of praise and assurance!
The Letter W believes that students should be influenced by wealthy, successful and happy people. These traits may be found in a local business owner! Business owners can offer a student an abundance of relevant knowledge and life experiences, regarding an industry, the community, the economy, and the importance of having a good work ethic and good moral character. Business owners also have a strong interest in making the community a better place, and most business owners know that this starts with a community's children!
Start networking to find a local business owner who has an interest in improving education and opportunities for children. Try your local Rotary or BNI chapter.
Ask potential mentors if they would be willing to set aside some time each week to meet with your student--at their business or at a nearby coffee shop. Depending on your child's age and interest level this could be as simple as a 20 minute walk-through of a factory or facility, or as complex as an apprenticeship within the business.
Give your student the opportunity to feel confident in a business setting. Ask the mentor to give your student similar expectations of an employee or officer of the company: dress code, formalities, a firm hand-shake! Let your student dive into the unique culture of the business: perhaps the business prefers a high-five!
Ask for a short-term commitment from your business mentor. One month of short, weekly visits will give your student a taste of the business. Be sure to ask your mentor for referrals for your next round of mentors!
Observe, discuss and watch the wheels turn for your student! As you visit and get acquainted with a variety of businesses, your student may start noticing the secrets to success!