Principal's Message

Doug Sanker

Doug Sanker
Principal, Middle School

Welcome to Winton Woods Middle School! 

The middle school years are great! Unfortunately, many remember those years as stressful, awkward and insecure. At Winton Woods Middle School, we are trying to radically change what many consider a typical middle school experience. 

Our staff is hard-working, friendly and compelled to provide an assortment of positive experiences and unique learning environments for our students. Students are known by their names and will find opportunities to learn with their peers. Our teachers are dedicated to meeting the individual needs of children. We teach using practices that will challenge your child: project-based learning, instruction that requires the highest levels of thinking, and instruction that pulls from subjects across the curriculum. For example, students may write an essay on a science topic that will be graded by a language arts teacher for style, mechanics and grammar, while a science teacher will grade it for content. 

The goal of a middle school is often articulated as to prepare students for high school. We want to do this, but also prepare you for life. This is why our school is embracing the principles of New Tech Network. As we do this, we will fundamentally change our instruction in the classroom and what our students will do to learn.  Our students can expect a greater emphasis on the Growth Mindset. The Growth Mindset says that hard work and perseverance are key to growth; frustration and failure are valuable if the student’s reaction is to learn from the failure and continue trying; and that effort and attitude determine everything.

The New Tech Model for school success is based on four design pillars:

Culture that Empowers

By making learning relevant and creating a collaborative learning culture, students become connected to, engaged with, and challenged by their school, their teachers and their peers.

Teaching that Engages

In project-based learning, students become problem-solvers.  Also, students will find instruction that is customized to their abilities.  Students do best when they respond with a sense of personal responsibility.

Technology that Enables

In a technology-rich environment, teachers and students create, communicate, access information, and experience self-directed learning.

Outcomes that Matter

New Tech Network learning outcomes measure collaboration, written and oral communication and the development of student responsibility for their own learning, called agency.

Our children face a dynamic future. They need to be prepared to engage with others, learn from different perspectives, and see alternatives within the big picture. Whether their futures include a career in business, the military, a helping profession, or the service sector, our children need to be ready to collaborate, cooperate and think deeply. NTN and Project based learning will prepare students for both the instruction they will receive at Winton Woods High School and the demands of our changing world. 

What can you expect this year? Expect your child to have homework that is meaningful and linked to the new content standards. Make sure they have space at home, and that they’re working on their homework and turning it in. Remember: the homework is not for you; it is your child’s time to practice skills they’ve learned. And if it is wrong, that’s okay. Students learn from a wrong answer that is corrected the next day, especially when they have a chance to struggle with the difference. 

As you review your child’s assignments, look for a high degree of thought and quality of the product being asked of them. If it is not high enough, please let me know.

Beyond the demands of the academic work, there are many ways to get involved at Winton Woods Middle School. We offer a variety of clubs, fine arts and sports. Browse through our website and ask your child what he or she might be interested in. We create adult-directed opportunities for kids to develop new skills, explore new topics and—as kids are sometimes heard to say—hang out.

We also have a commitment to communicate. I send out near-weekly emails that address issues, events and trends. You can sign up for these, and other communications, through One Call Now by going to

Please contact me at any time to visit or if you have questions about Winton Woods Middle School. You can also e-mail me at We value your input and your role as parent/guardian—it is clearly a shared mission to guarantee a quality education for your child.



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