CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Primary findings of Innovation Zones at schools statewide show schools are making changes that are benefiting students and teachers alike, the state Board of Education learned Thursday.
Innovation Zones, established by the state Legislature in 2009, encourage pilot projects at schools around the state. The law encourages schools to innovate by allowing certain state laws, rules and policies to be waived. Such provisions give teachers and principals greater local control over the curriculum, schedule and site-based leadership in their schools. Schools designated as Innovation Zones essentially become learning laboratories with the flexibility to try innovative teaching strategies.
The West Virginia Board of Education awarded its first Innovation Zone grants to 19 schools and educational partnerships in 2010.
“Innovation Zones are allowing our schools to adapt to changing times and embrace new ideas and new teaching strategies,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “Giving our schools greater flexibility allows them to create learning facilities that reflect how children live and learn today and in the future.”
In a survey, Innovation Zone schools indicated increased collaboration and teamwork as the greatest benefit and facilitator of change. Also frequently cited positive results were time flexibility, teacher involvement in decision making, professional development, student involvement, parent involvement and an emphasis on student learning.
For a copy of the 2011 Innovation Zones Annual Report click http://wvde.state.wv.us/innovationzones. For more information, contact the Office of Communications at 304-558-2699.
--The West Virginia Board of Education and the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) are committed to ensuring all students in the state are college and career ready when they graduate from a public school. What West Virginia students are learning in school exceeds national and international standards. Through the WVDE’s 21st century learning plan called “Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it.,” West Virginia is seeing better student performance on the West Virginia Educational Standards Test 2 (WESTEST2); the SAT and the ACT college entrance exams; the job skills assessment called Work Keys given to career and technical education students; and in a high school graduation rate that exceeds the national average.