GHS Principal Tom Ryerson at his desk

Each morning at Geneseo High School, a period of 24 minutes is scheduled for all students to WIN.

It’s a new approach that was created by the school’s new principal, Tom Ryerson, with WIN being an acronym for “what I need.”

“The idea behind WIN is to provide students with opportunities for differentiated learning and the support that they may need to help with academic achievement, as well as social well-being,” explains Ryerson. “This period allows us flexibility with all students to address whatever their specific needs may be.”

For some students, that means working on Khan Academy, an online platform that offers personalized learning, trusted content and tools to empower teachers. Other students can visit math and reading learning labs to get guided support from content teachers, take reassessments or finish up missing work. For seniors, it’s a window to gather information on college and career readiness planning. Targeted, small counselor groups also gather during WIN time.

Approximately a month into the school year, Ryerson is pleased with how the initiative has been received. He’s also relieved that after two and a half years of living through a pandemic, there is a more normal feel throughout the building and its classrooms.

“Students and staff returned with a renewed energy without the worries and stress that COVID had on everyone the last few years,” says Ryerson. “We’re all very happy to be back in a more traditional setting.”

Despite the challenges that the pandemic presented from an academic standpoint, Ryerson is encouraged by what he’s seeing from GHS students.

“SAT and PSAT scores returned to levels that the high school was at prior to the pandemic,” he explains. “Being in school full time has had an impact on student achievement and we have seen this across the district at all levels.”

A big believer in collaboration, Ryerson wants to take advantage of the close-knit culture that exists at GHS to enhance the experience for students, staff, parents and the community.

“We have several groups that meet regularly to build on our positive culture, including our Building Leadership Team and School Spirit Planning Committee,” notes Ryerson. “We have specific goals with outcomes that we are consistently meeting and working on.

“Soon, we will invite local businesses to partner with us with the opening of our new Career and Technical Education Center,” Ryerson continues. “Our hope is that our students can get enrolled in a certified apprenticeship program where they are going out into our local businesses to work and receive on the job training experience while still enrolled at GHS.”

For Ryerson, building relationships and trust with all stakeholders is vital to the success that he and everyone associated with GHS will enjoy. In part, that means being visible and available each day.

“It is important to me that I am out modeling, listening, giving and taking feedback, and collaborating with everyone for the betterment of our school,” Ryerson explains.

For the latest on what’s happening at GHS, follow Principal Ryerson on Twitter at @Ryerson_Tom.