Why should you choose Winona Area Public Schools?

WAPS logo

At Winona Area Public Schools, you can expect excellence, grounded in compassion, to meet the needs of all learners. We offer outstanding and comprehensive programs with proven results. Our classrooms inspire creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. We are strong believers of individual learning and recognizing every child's unique potential.

What does that look like? Take a look around this page to learn more about what it means to be part of the Winhawk family.




Excellence in the classroom


Herky with kindergartners

Winona Area Public Schools gives students the opportunity to learn, develop and grow in an enriching community with an emphasis on individualized learning. Staff strive to recognize every child's unique potential for success.

Curriculum at all levels will ensure students are given opportunities to understand multicultural perspectives and how inclusion is important in a democratic society

A rich variety of opportunities in fine arts, athletics and activities

Winona Model Legislature

Model Legislature in 2019

Our offerings for students in academics, fine arts and state-winning athletics and activities allow everyone to find an opportunity that fits their interests. 

Students can take part in more than 40 athletics and activities in high school, including one of the best FFA clubs in the nation, a cutting-edge robotics team and competitive athletic teams. 

Former history teacher and current Rep. Gene Pelowski has been the advisor of the Winona Model Legislature, sponsored by WSHS and others, since 1975.

The music program has a proud tradition and continues to offer one-of-a-kind opportunities in band, choir and the only orchestra program in Winona County. Students stage engaging and riveting theatrical productions under the guidance of skilled directors.

Every year, the student councils at WSHS and WMS come together to offer a Thanksgiving feast to retired members of the community. The dinner is one of the many community service projects offered through clubs and activities in WAPS. 

A dedicated, experienced teaching staff


Former WEA Teachers of the Year

Teachers have been the backbone of Winona Area Public Schools since the district was founded in 1861. Seventy percent of WAPS teachers hold an advanced degree and nearly 90 percent have three or more years of experience — both well above the state average. 

With an eye toward evolving student needs and a focus on cutting edge instructional technique, teachers are supported with numerous professional development trainings and other opportunities for growth. They are empowered to serve on district committees and make decisions that impact the future of the district and its students.

Since 2009, five WAPS teachers have been named a finalist for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year award, the latest of which was high school teacher Theresa Pearson in 2019. Parent educator Katy Smith won the award in 2011.

More than anything, however, WAPS teachers are kind, caring, loving and compassionate. They educate, inspire and advocate, while collaborating with families and the community to serve as cheerleaders for student success.

A school district that strives to meet the needs of all learners

Jefferson Elementary PBIS

The mission of Winona Area Public Schools is to expect excellence, grounded in compassion, to meet the needs of all learners. The last part of the mission — meeting the needs of all learners — was especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did WAPS implement a distance learning model in less than two weeks, it also figured out how to continue feeding its students and provide child care to children of critical workers. 

Winona Area Public Schools will provide a welcoming, affirming atmosphere for your student. Here are some of the ways we do it.

#WhyWAPS stories from our families:

Why? Because the teachers care
Why? For so many reasons
Why? Because my family graduated from there
Why? Because my children love it
Why? It's a great day to be a Winhawk
Why? Because of the great classes at the high school
Why? I am a proud WAPS graduate
Are you ready to enroll? Click here