excited to share that Irving is one of 6 schools selected to participate in an
innovation zone for our district. Below you will find some
common questions regarding Innovation and what it means for our school.
What is Innovation?
For years, schools have used a traditional approach to education (sometimes referred to as the “factory” model). This model worked well several in the past but as our economy has shifted, so have the educational needs of our workforce. Innovation allows us to combine the best aspects of the traditional model with new approaches to teaching and learning that better prepare students for the future.
Until this year, our school had ranked low across the state in Academic Achievement and growth despite our best efforts to improve. Innovation status supports new opportunities to implement strategies and programs that are more effective in positively impacting student achievement and growth.
What will be different?
The four initiatives below describe the identified innovations for our zone schools.
What does it look like?
The Elementary schools at the elementary level have identified four initiatives to begin implementing next year:
EVERY CHILD, COLLEGE READY- Regardless of whether every student chooses to go to college, every child ought to have college as an option. AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) builds a culture of high expectations that sets students on a rigorous path of learning. Teachers utilize consistent instructional strategies across all grade levels that help students to organize, analyze, and collaborate in their content areas.
PERSONALIZED, 21st CENTURY LEARNING- Students come to school with a wide range of knowledge and skills, even when they’re in the same classroom. By adopting a blended learning model, schools within the zone will utilize technology and online learning to customize learning for students during their day. Blended learning doesn’t replace the teacher, but rather allows them to use technology to meet the specific needs of each of their students. Students that are behind will benefit by being able to catch up more quickly, and students who are ahead won’t be slowed down! As a result, learning becomes more meaningful and more relevant for students. You can find out more about blended learning here.
HELP STUDENTS TO DREAM- We want our students to discover more about their community and more about their world! The creation of an Extended Learning Opportunities Program will allow them to learn a new skill, pursue a passion, and connect with the community through unique and exciting programs. Extended Learning Opportunities will be offered in an after school or end of day format and we’ll be working with the community to find people willing to share their interests. This article from the National Education Association describes the impact of Extended Learning Opportunities.
In 2017, students at Irving participated in the Renew our schools challenge. After forming an environmental club, students in fourth grade monitored school electricity usage throughout the building and shared ways for our school to use less energy. At the end of five weeks, we were pleased to discover that we'd placed 2nd overall in our division, earning us a $12,000 award towards an energy saving measure for our school. The school looks to use this award to install higher efficiency lighting in some of our common areas.
STRENGTHEN OUR COMMUNITY- Today’s students are tomorrow’s citizens. We want to ensure that our community thrives and is revitalized by our students. Through a partnership with CSU Pueblo, we've created a special program for teacher candidates to partner with master teachers within the innovation zone. This will ensure that our future teachers have the skills necessary to succeed in our schools.
Our partnership with CSU- Pueblo continues through the implementation of Math Fairs. Future teachers learn how to transform abstract concepts in math into concrete activities for students to understand. They also learn the importance of being able to differentiate instruction based on student needs.