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The Winnetka Public Schools uses the Understanding by Design approach to curriculum development and documentation.  This framework is used to design learning experiences and assessment with the end in mind: student outcomes. The identified student outcomes are categorized into three types: Know, Understand and Do (KUD). Transfer goals and essential questions are also part of the Understanding by Design framework as well. Transfer goals consider how and when students will use the skills, knowledge and understandings learned in particular units to other learning and life experiences. Whereas essential questions are thought-provoking questions that will foster inquiry, meaning-making, and transfer.

To view the transfer goals, essential questions, as well as “KUDs” for this content area, please click the link below. To view the “KUDs” by grade level, please visit the grade level “Curriculum Summaries” in the left-hand menu.


Drama/Theatre as an artistic discipline within the school day nurtures the social, emotional, artistic, and intellectual aspects of the whole child essential for 21st-century learning. In Drama/Theatre, we strive to create an atmosphere where students build basic theatre and acting skills; develop social-emotional skills including: empathy, perspective taking, problem-solving, and collaboration; practice innovation and divergent thinking; cherish individuality and boost confidence; and promote reflection.  Drama/Theatre provides an active and positive environment in which students explore the complexities of life through artistic self-expression.

Drama Department Key Beliefs

We believe that the arts are the voice of our humanity (Winnetka: a Community of Learners, 1999).

We believe that…

  • The 21st Century learner requires a skill set reliant on collaboration, presentation, and elements of technology, all of which are directly taught in the drama classroom.

  • Drama/theatre process and practice is uniquely suited to developing the social-emotional competencies necessary for success in a dynamic society.

  • The study of drama/theatre enhances both verbal and non-verbal communication, and reinforces literacy in students.

  • Drama/theatre develops empathy and helps students understand complex emotions, relationships, and issues.

  • Drama/theatre processes help students connect with and accept others and to recognize and understand other points of view.

  • Drama/theatre encourages children to practice emotions and problem-solving strategies in a non-threatening and supportive environment.

  • Drama/theatre challenges students to work cooperatively in what is by definition a collaborative art form.

  • The drama/theatre process reinforces analytical, reflective, and evaluative skills essential to success in life.

  • Drama/theatre is the one art form that draws upon elements from all of the other fine arts including dance, visual art and design, and music.

  • Drama/theatre helps children learn how themes and ideas raised in our classes relate to issues in other disciplines, society, and the world.

Meet the Teachers

Amy Markos- Washburne

Amy Markos has been teaching in Winnetka since 2000. She grew up in Park Ridge where she began her performing arts journey as a dancer. She added singing and performing in plays in high school and continued to study theatre and dance in college. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Education from the University of Wisconsin and completed a study abroad program in London. She holds a master’s degree in Theatre from Northwestern University and will complete another master’s in Gifted Education from Concordia University in July 2023. Ms. Markos enjoys creating theatre with her students and loves that on any given day she may be teaching her students to dance, sing, paint, sew, improvise, or act in service to the three mainstage plays Washburne produces each year including a modern play, a children’s theatre selection, and a musical. In her free time, Ms. Markos enjoys spending time with her family and friends, singing in a band, traveling, going to the theatre, and painting.

Allison Singer- Skokie

With a professional background spanning the education, legal, nonprofit, health, and creative arts sectors, Allison Singer brings a breadth of experience to her drama classroom. She grew up singing, dancing, and acting on Midwest stages and was fortunate to begin performing professionally while in high school. She earned her B.A. in African-American Studies from Washington University and her J.D. from California Western School of Law, expanding her performance resume along the way. While a practicing litigator, she developed a mock trial curriculum for a middle school and fell in love with the classroom. She went on to earn teaching certifications in social studies, language arts, and drama. Ms. Singer is grateful to have arrived at this full-circle moment that allows her to share the power of theatre to connect people and offer new perspectives. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with her family, being in nature, reading, and seeing as many shows as possible.