Winfield Elementary School


“A Tradition of Excellence” has long been the motto for Winfield City Schools. This motto has manifested itself in several forms, which include research-based instructional practices that have resulted in high academic achievement. This statement is supported by both state and national recognition. Winfield Elementary School was identified as a 2014 National Blue Ribbon School. Additionally, Winfield Elementary School consistently ranks as one of the top schools in Alabama based on state assessment scores. In January 2017, this recognition was underscored by an article from the Birmingham News which identified Winfield City Schools as an “A” school district in view of state assessment data and the socio-economic status of the schools. In and of itself, the academic accomplishments of Winfield Elementary School are impressive; however, this success is significantly strengthened by the integration of STE(A)M instruction and skillsets in the district curriculum and practices. Furthermore, Winfield Elementary School underwent a rigorous evaluation for Cognia STEM Certification in 2017-2018. The evaluation measured Winfield Elementary School's performance across 11 rigorous STEM Indicators. The Cognia STEM Certification team awarded Winfield Elementary School with a Cognia STEM Certification for the entire school.

The implementation of integrated STE(A)M strategies provides our students the opportunity to stay ahead of the recent trend towards performance-based assessments and skills-based reporting. It also serves as a connection between the traditional classroom and the digital classroom. As a result of technology, what students learn, and how and when they learn, are changing. Research shows that these changes can make a significant difference when applied appropriately.

According to the Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET), "Technology can help improve student performance when the application directly supports the curriculum objectives being assessed. Also, technology adjusts for student ability and prior experience and provides feedback to the student and teacher about student performance or progress with the application." This supports the differentiated instruction practices of coaching and mentoring as well as sharing responsibility for learning. The staff at Winfield Elementary School has made a commitment to not only provide the most relevant tools for learning but also ensure that the resources are in concert with state standards and curriculum objectives.

We strive to provide this relevant curriculum with continuing opportunities for cross-curricular integration as recommended by state and national standards. Winfield Elementary School emphasizes authentic problem-solving methodologies while integrating technology as an additional tool for student engagement. This is facilitated by teachers who relinquish their traditional role of “sage on the stage” to become the “guide on the side.”

Over the past eight years, we have redesigned our classrooms by removing all desks and replacing them with tables in order to facilitate collaborative learning. In addition, Grades three and four are 1:1 and Grades K-2 are equipped with iPads and Chromebooks. Access points and Promethean Boards are located in every classroom. With our growth of technology, all access points will be upgraded to 5G in the summer of 2022. Most importantly, the pedagogy has been adapted to promote STE(A)M concepts and practices with an emphasis on Student-Centered Learning. Winfield Elementary School students are exposed to not only classroom and grade level projects, but district-wide projects, and community outreach projects, as well. The students are continuously challenged with growing rigor and hands-on, problem-solving opportunities. This approach has led to an invaluable amount of educational opportunities for our students.


"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” - W.B. Yeats

Shirey House

The Shirey House serves as an internet café for the community, but most importantly, it provides Winfield City Schools with an informal learning center that embraces the STEAM concepts for grades K-12. The Shirey house offers great opportunities to exercise interdisciplinary muscles and pair seemingly disparate disciplines and curricula. This 'extended classroom' presents to the WCS staff instructional options that motivate and engage students.

What separates the Shirey House from the traditional classroom is its blended learning environment and unique setting which stimulates the students' curiosity and provides exposure to how the scientific method can be applied to everyday life. The Shirey House provides a forum to teach students computational thinking and focuses on the real-world applications of problem-solving.

Teachers have the opportunity to implement learning objectives using diverse strategies and methodologies. The Shirey House is staffed with a certified teacher who helps to facilitate the learning experience. Working with the classroom teacher, the facilitator is able to enhance instruction and provide a view of learning that would not normally be available in the traditional classroom.

In addition to the extended classroom availability, the Shirey House offers community learning opportunities that range from floral arrangements to technology training! The Shirey House also serves as a medium to display student art and creativity.


The earlier we introduce children to coding, the more comfortable they will be when presented with more in-depth learning opportunities in middle and high school. Also, early exposure to coding helps teach children how important it is to understand computers as the valuable tools that they are rather than merely fun playthings. Learning the fundamentals of coding provides students with skills that will serve them well in virtually any career they choose. Plus, there are few things that ignite and excite a room full of learners like a coding class, especially when the coding is used in conjunction with robotics.

Children learn with all of their senses, and robotics aligns more naturally with the active, hands-on development of young students. Studies have shown that a multi-sensory approach activates a larger number of cognitive connections. When working with robotics, students are emotionally and physically engaged, which results in active learning and enhanced long-term experiential recall.

With each grade level, there is a development of exposure to coding and robotics. The focus is two-fold. First, the use of coding and robotics reinforces curriculum standards. Second, students learn skill sets that will enhance learning and prepare them for college and their careers. Children want to learn how to code and the lasting benefits of building these skill sets include logical thinking, problem-solving, persistence, collaboration, and communication.

Students arrive at the middle school well versed in coding and ready to program Bee-Bots and Dash and Dots. Those students who have a desire to pursue coding can join the middle school robotics team, which competes in VEX Robotics Competitions. We give credit to this coding and robotic knowledge to the fact that coding begins in our Pre-K classes as they learn with "Code-N-Go Mouse." The progression flows from grade to grade at the elementary level as students learn to code using the Blockly language to program the Code-N-Go Mouse, Bee-Bots, and Dash-N-Dots.

Communication and collaboration are critical skills to prepare young people for the world outside the classroom doors. Robotics challenges offer students opportunities in all forms of socialization, including listening skills, and considering and evaluating alternative perspectives. Robotic challenges offer students exciting opportunities to build and express their imaginations. There is an authenticity of purpose inherent in bringing the seed of an idea to fruition: from the brainstorming phase to the construction of artifacts that have real-world value. The desire to create is nothing new. A combination of hearts, minds, and bodies has always contributed to the betterment of our world. Robotics values ingenuity and the limitless possibilities of creation.