Middle School News

WAPS Strategic Plan 2022

The WAPS school board on Sept. 1 approved the district’s strategic plan, which will cover the 2022-27 school years. The plan is the result of a collaborative process led by the Minnesota School Board Association that included input from district leaders, staff, students, families and community members.

Read More about WAPS strategic plan focuses on individual needs, systemic changes
A family poses for a picture under a balloon arch

The Winona Middle School staff welcomed students and families to the middle school on Thursday, Sept. 1 for WMS Rally Day. It was a time for students to get their school picture taken, take a tour of the school, meet staff members, learn about after school activities and more. 

Read More about Photos: WMS staff welcomes students, families at Rally Day
WAPS staff members raise their hands at the all-staff gathering on Aug. 30, 2022

On Tuesday morning at Winona Middle School, the entire staff of Winona Area Public Schools gathered to kick off the 2022-23 school year. The all-staff gathering is the centerpiece of a week full of meetings, professional development, parent-teacher conferences, orientation events and more. 

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Future classroom possibility

The school board on Thursday night approved a two-question referendum to be held in April of 2023. If the community supports both questions, the district can begin work on a list of projects included in a recommendation by the WAPS Community Task Force, a group of staff members and community members which met 10 times over a span of four months to vet numerous facilities options. Earlier in Thursday’s meeting, the board accepted the recommendation as the base of a master facilities plan.

Read More about ‘The time is now’: WAPS board sets April referendum date
School buildings

The majority of district residents believe in Winona Area Public Schools and approve the recommendation of the Community Task Force to invest in and improve the current fleet of school buildings, according to a scientific survey conducted by one of Minnesota’s leading marketing and research firms. 

Read More about Survey shows support for WAPS, proposed referendum
School buildings

The community task force recommended the district continue to invest and improve the six current WAPS buildings. The task force vetted 12 different options — new construction, consolidating buildings, changing grade-level configurations and various combinations — before coming back to Option A. 

Read More about Task force recommends WAPS invest in current buildings
Health and Safety Protocols Update

We are making several changes to our health and safety protocols. These changes were made in order to have sustainable, realistic practices and to align our requirements to the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Read More about WAPS school board approves updated COVID-19 protocols
Students take a close look at a mushroom growing off a tree

Living off the Land is one of several new electives offered at Winona Middle School thanks to the creativity and collaboration of the teaching staff. The class is all about exposing students to the abundance of possibilities for securing food from their own backyards and public land near them. 

Read More about Students learn to live off the land in WMS science elective
Student works at a laptop

The WAPS Online Academy is a free comprehensive online learning program offered through Winona Area Public Schools. The WAPS Online Academy will provide a personalized online learning environment that values student engagement and offers rigorous learning experiences that lead to high levels of student success.

Read More about WAPS Online Academy set to launch for 2021-22 school year
School Board Work Session

The Winona Area Public Schools board took the first steps toward a possible referendum Tuesday night, at times tossing off the hard hats of a construction crew focusing only on maintenance projects and instead discussing how to create spaces where students want to be.

Read More about WAPS board focuses on student needs in referendum discussion
Winhawk Q and A Promo

On this week's Winhawk Q and A, Winona Middle School principal Mark Winter joins Superintendent Dr. Annette K. Freiheit to discuss Grades 6-8 returning in-person on Thursday, April 8. This video was recorded on Wednesday, March 24.

Read More about Winhawk Q and A: WMS principal Mark Winter discusses the return to in-person learning
free meals 031820

Over the last year, the WAPS School Nutrition staff handed out 402,971 free meals to all students aged 18 and under in Winona, regardless if they attend a WAPS school or not. That number continues to rise each week, as all meals are free to students in school and also available to the community through a weekly pickup at Winona Senior High School on Wednesdays. 

Read More about One year later: 400,000 meals served ... and counting
Teachers of the Year promo

To celebrate a school year in which teachers were asked to do more than ever, the Winona Education Association decided to expand its teacher of the year program to honor not just one — but three teachers in Winona Area Public Schools. 

Read More about Spreading the joy: Three WAPS educators named WEA 2020-21 Teachers of the Year
Free meals continue

The federal program that allows Winona Area Public Schools to provide free meals for all students in the community has received additional funding. All students in Winona not just those who attend a WAPS school will have access to free meals for the remainder of the school year and next summer. 

Read More about Free meals will continue throughout the school year
WAPS Safe Learning Plan Update

We are happy to announce that we will shift to Winhawk Learning Model No. 3, which means that Grades 7-12 will move to a hybrid model, beginning Monday, Sept. 28. 

Early childhood and elementary (Grades K-6) will remain in a hybrid model as well.

Also, athletics for Grades 7-12 will resume beginning Tuesday, Sept. 22, while athletics for Grades 5-6 and activities for Grades 5-8 will begin on Monday, Oct. 5.

Read More about Announcing a change to the Winhawk Learning Model and an athletics update
Food service photo

Winona Area Public Schools families are encouraged to apply for free or reduced-price school meals through the Application for Educational Benefits. A new application must be submitted each year. WAPS encourages all families to submit applications.

Read More about Familes can now apply for free meal benefits for the 2020-21 school year
Backyard Special Athletic Competition

Although COVID-19 prevented the Special Athletic Competition from taking place at Paul Giel Field as usual, athletes still took to their driveways, sidewalks and local parks for Backyard SAC 2020. Check out these highlights submitted by our families and cheer on these amazing athletes!

Read More about Watch highlights from the Backyard Special Athletic Competition
Distance Learning photo

Earlier today, Gov. Tim Walz announced that all public and charter schools in Minnesota will remain in distance learning for the remainder of the school year. Students will not be returning to the school buildings until next fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More about WAPS to remain in distance learning for remainder of school year
Avery Schultz W-K Distance Learning

One issue that has been brought up by both our families and our staff is grading. During distance learning, we remain steadfast in our commitment to the social and emotional health of our students, families and staff. We also realize that there are unavoidable inequities for our students and families that impact our ability to expect academic work to continue as if they were in our school buildings.

Read More about WAPS clarifies grading policies during distance learning
WMS distance learning resources

The transition to distance learning will require patience, understanding and teamwork for all involved. We understand there were some questions and concerns from our families on the first day of distance learning. We hope these resources can address some of those issues.

Read More about Letter to families: Addressing your distance learning questions
Empty lockers at WSHS

Earlier today, Gov. Tim Walz announced that all schools in Minnesota, including Winona Area Public Schools, will remain closed through Monday, May 4 as part of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. However, daily instruction will resume. For the past two weeks, teachers and staff have been preparing to institute distance learning plans at each grade level, and those lessons will begin Tuesday, March 31. Monday, March 30 will remain a staff workshop day.

Read More about WAPS will remain closed, begin distance learning March 31

In light of the governor’s order this morning and our decision Friday, Winona Area Public Schools will be closed from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27. During this time, all after-school activities, athletic team practices and events, Community Education programming and building rentals are canceled. 

Read More about Winona Area Public Schools will be closed March 16-27
Youth Art Month 2020

Thanks to the support of several businesses and organizations — and the creativity of talented students under the guidance of dedicated teachers — Winona Area Public Schools will join thousands of others across the country in celebrating Youth Art Month in March. 

Read More about Student artwork to be displayed around Winona during Youth Art Month
Hadyn Brown

Hadyn Brown, a sixth-grade student at Winona Middle School, finished second in the Southeast Minnesota Regional Spelling Bee on Tuesday, Feb. 11 in Rochester. The second-place finish means Brown will advance to the Southeast Minnesota Final Spelling Bee on Tuesday, Feb. 25. 

Read More about WMS sixth-grader finishes second in Regional Spelling Bee
Annette Freiheit Dress Code Survey Link

Dr. Annette K. Freiheit, Superintendent of Winona Area Public Schools, is asking district parents and community members to offer their feedback on a new dress code policy. Parents and community members can take the survey at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/38F75M5. The survey will be open until 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11.

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Tim Gleason THank a Coach/Adviser

Tim Gleason coaches girls basketball, track and field and is a band director. He is being thanked for "supporting our team even when we aren't at our best" and how he helped a former student-turned-teacher to unlock her confidence. "I believe that it is because of him that I am now a teacher."

Read More about Thank a Coach/Adviser Week: Tim Gleason got his players, students to see the best in themselves
Welcome Future Winhawks

Registration is now open for the 2020-21 school year. Go to winonaschools.org/kindergarten to learn more about the programs and resources available, or for help on registering your student. An enrollment brochure will be sent to families later this week, so keep an eye on your mailbox.

Read More about WAPS announces kindergarten registration is now open
Winhawks In the Know Jan. 9

Want to be in the know? Get caught up with all that is happening around Winona Area Public Schools with Winhawks in the Know. Included in this newsletter: accolades for the WSHS Theatre Group, the school board holds its annual organizational meeting, Dr. Freiheit updates the board on the curriculum system structure and more!

Read More about Winhawks in the Know: Jan. 9 board meeting
WMS Socratic Seminar Dress Code Policy

Superintendent Dr. Annette K. Freiheit continues to seek student feedback regarding a proposed dress code policy for students in Winona Area Public Schools. On Wednesday, she visited the classroom of Winona Middle School eighth-grade social studies teacher Tommy Sawyer, who used the superintendent’s visit as an opportunity for his students to engage in a Socratic Seminar. 

Read More about WMS students use Socratic Seminar to discuss dress code policy
Eric Barnard climbing

On Monday, Eric Barnard visited Lisa Palkowski’s sixth-grade language arts classes at Winona Middle School and had the students’ attention from start to finish as he shared stories from his climbing experiences in, showed off his equipment and answered questions — like what happens when you have to go to the bathroom and you’re on the side of the mountain.

Read More about Speaker shares the thrill of climbing with Winona Middle School students
Dress code feedback

The superintendent asked for feedback. And she’s getting a lot of it. Dr. Annette K. Freiheit on Tuesday started the process for gathering feedback on a new dress code policy that will replace the current policy, which was adopted in 2008 and hasn’t been revised since 2014. 

Read More about Dr. Freiheit gathers dress code policy feedback from students
Kelly Anderson First Student

First Student has collected several lost and found items from students who ride the bus to and from school each day. Starting Monday, Dec. 16, parents can come to the First Student office at 1160 Frontenac Drive in Winona to claim any lost materials. There will be tables set up at the front office throughout the week. 

Read More about Lose a mitten? Check First Student's lost and found