CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education wants to hear about innovative and enterprising ideas educators and others have to improve public schools. The board, in conjunction with the state Department of Education, is hosting several meetings across the state in October to hear comments on School Innovation Zones.
The School Innovations Zones Act, adopted earlier this year, encourages pilot projects at schools around the state. The law allows for waivers to certain state laws, rules and policies to give teachers and principals greater local control over the curriculum, schedule and staffing in their schools.
Schools designated as Innovation Zones essentially become learning laboratories with the flexibility to try innovative teaching strategies. The approach can vary from changes involving all math teachers in a school or county, for example, to broader initiatives involving the entire school, such as altering the structure of the school day. Eighty percent of those impacted by an Innovation Zone must agree to the transformation. The more elaborate the change, the more people who would need to sign on.
Schools and others hoping to become pilot Innovation Zone sites can share their ideas for change during the meetings. Teachers, principals, business and community leaders, parents, central office staff, higher education representatives and others are welcome to attend.
Dates and locations for the informational meetings include:
· Oct. 13 - Stonewall Resort, Roanoke, W.Va.
· Oct. 14 – Tamarack, Beckley, W.Va.
· Oct. 15 - Clay Center, Charleston, W.Va.
· Oct. 16 - Bavarian Inn, Shepherdstown, W.Va.
· Oct. 20 - West Virginia High Technology Foundation Research Center, Fairmont, W.Va.
Two sessions are scheduled at each location. The first session will run from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The second session will run from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Anyone interested in attending should register online at http://wvde.state.wv.us/innovationzones/index.html.
The sessions will be interactive and include collaborative brainstorming of possible ideas for innovation. The components of the Innovation Zone initiative, the application process and phases will be shared and technical assistance will be offered.
For more information, contact Donna Peduto, Innovation Zones coordinator, at 304-558-3199, or the Office of Communications at 304-558-2699.
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