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the Gauntlet

the official student-produced news site for Saint Stephen's Episcopal School

the Gauntlet

WinAtSocial sparks change at Saint Stephen’s

WinAtSocial is a new advisory program designed to help students better understand the world around them.
Sarah Black
A group of sophomore boys (Dylan Kinder, Jackson Pakbaz, George Frano) take part in a lesson demonstrating how the brands we support impact the world.

Last month, Saint Stephen’s introduced an exciting new learning initiative, “WinAtSocial,” run by The Social Institute, that will become a part of the advisory program in all four divisions in years to come.

According to their website, WinAtSocial “enables schools to proactively address current events and trending topics that matter to students.” The program was created by student leaders across the country in conjunction with the Social Institute.  The lessons, to be done during advisory time, features interactive lessons on modern, contemporary trends on teenage lifestyle and culture.

These WinAtSocial lessons are opportunities for kids to understand the world around them through interactive games, polling, and discussions. The program also allows parents to log in and see what is happening in the classroom, encouraging them to bring topics from the school day home to the dinner table.

What makes the program work is the element of interactivity.  According to their website, “The Social Institute (TSI) offers a gamified, online learning platform that empowers students to navigate their social world positively — including social media and technology — to fuel their health, happiness, and future success.”

Their “gamified” curriculum is used by over 50,000 students and is praised as the gold medal standard.

Saint Stephen’s offers students a lot of opportunities to better themselves, and one important aspect of this is continually encouraging students to be well-read and well-informed on the world around them. Having a stronger understanding of the world and events is crucial, and this initiative gives students a chance to have relevant and digestible information at their fingertips.

Last week, the first WinAtSocial lesson was run in every advisory on campus, the first exposure of the program to students.  As advisory time is usually the much-needed “break time” for most, not everyone, especially the upperclassmen, was very excited about the change.  Junior Cassi O’Donnell was one of these.

“Advisory is our time to chill out and hang out with friends during our packed school day. It shouldn’t be spent doing some activity no one really asked for.”’

Dean of Student Life and Wellness Mrs. Conn is aware of the difficulty of getting high school students involved with a new advisory program.

“We’re struggling the most to get the older kids on board because you’ve all had phones and social media for so long, whereas the younger students, who haven’t, are so excited to see what it’s like and get emerged.”

Not all students felt the same way about the first lesson as O’Donnell.  The activities have a broad range of subjects, from lessons like “Creating or Enhancing Your Resume to land dream opportunities” to “Examining the ethics of ai and plagiarism” to  “Considering how the brands we use impact the world,” and the administration is confident that students will come around once they get to know the system. 

The curriculum is also differentiated for all ages.

In the intermediate school, students seemed pleased with the topics offered by WinAtSocial. Fifth grade student Serena Nimer was one of them.

“I have a phone but my mom doesn’t let me use TikTok or Instagram because she says I’m too young,” Nimer said.  “So I’m excited to learn how to use it at school and see how it goes.”

Senior Ricardo Perazzolo also believes the program has potential, if used in the right context.

“My advisory and I aren’t super excited to lose this time during our day, but I do like the format and analytics of the site. Maybe if it was hosted during a different class or period, we could all appreciate it more.”

Going forward, the advisories will continue explore the lessons on WinAtSocial approximately once or twice a month with the goal of making it routine.  As for the success of the program, the school is hopeful.

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About the Contributor
Sarah Black
Sarah Black, Staff Writer
Sarah Black is a junior at Saint Stephen's and a first year member of the Gauntlet. Aside from being a staff writer, she enjoys spending her free time snorkeling and watching Zack and Cody. She also enjoys spending time with her two golden retrievers, and her favorite color is gray.

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