2017 Innovation in Education Awarded

The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) approved Innovation in Education designations for nine schools at its December and January Board meetings.  The nine schools received grant awards include:


Innovation in Education planning grants were awarded to:


This is the first time schools have received Innovation in Education designations following the passage of HB 4295 during the 2016 legislative session and subsequent WVBE Policy 3236.  The bill, which was backed by Governor Early Ray Tomblin, encourages and incentivizes public schools to implement key innovational education priorities and improve overall student outcomes.  Through an application process, public schools can redesign delivery of instruction, operate under greater flexibility and enhance student engagement to increase educational achievement for a school that demonstrates innovation in education in any of the following priority areas:

  1. science, technology, enginnering, and math (STEM);
  2. community-school partnerships;
  3. entrepreneurship;
  4. career pathways; and
  5. the arts.


"We received several outstanding applications requesting an Innovation in Education desgination," said West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) Chief Academic Officer and review committee member, Clayton Burch, "The nine schools receiving designations have proposed inventive ideas that encompass the goals of the Innovation in Education Act."


Applications were received from 43 West Virginia elementary schools, middle schools, high school, and career technical education centers.  Schools' applications were independently assessed by a selection committee comprised of representatives from the WVBE, WVDE, the West Virginia Governor's Office and Marshall University along with county representatives, curriculum facilitators, educators, and administrators.  The selection committee assessed the school based on established evaluation rubrics and submitted seven schools for WVBE approval.  In total, the schools receiving the Innovation in Education designation will receive more than $2.4 million in special funding.


Details on each school's plan can be found by downloading the 2017 Innovation in Education Grant Recommendation PDF file.

Contact Kathy Gillman at kgillman@k12.wv.us for any questions.




WVDE Innovation Zones

According to WVDE - BOE Policy 3236     





The 2015 Innovation Zone Grant Awardees are:

To view each grant application, click on the link of the title of the grant.

Barbour County - Philippi Middle School - Middle School Quest for High School Success


Clay County - HE White Elementary School - Community School

Grant County - Maysville Elementary School, Petersburg Elementary School, Petersburg High School, Union Educational Complex - Project Connect

Greenbrier County - Eastern Greenbrier Middle School, Greenbrier East High School, and Western Greenbrier Middle School - Minding Our Business

Lincoln County - Midway Elementary School and Ranger Elementary School - Catching Them Up...

McDowell County - Southside K-8 School - Community School

Mercer County - Mercer County Schools - Helping Hands

Mingo County - Burch Middle School, Matewan PK-8 School, and Mingo Central High School - E3: Engage, Experience, and Educate

Ohio County - Madison Elementary - The Anchor Program  


The 2014 Innovation Zone Grant Awardees are:

Greenbrier East High School

Musselman High School

Randolph County Schools

The 2013 Innovation Zone Grant Awardees are:

Cabell County Schools and the June Harless School for Rural Education: $300,000

Grant monies will be used to provide resources to engage students, teachers, community members and parents of Geneva Kent and Peyton Elementary in the Expeditionary Learning model. This grant will accelerate the full implementation of Expeditionary Learning practices in the consolidated incubator school which will open in 2015.

Cabell County Schools and the June Harless School of Rural Education:  $292,494

Grant monies will be used to expand the Reggio Emilia PreK Model in the Cabell County School System.  The incubator school will be opening in 2015. The grant will support two existing PreK sites and allow for an additional four sites including the new incubator school to continue their work in transitioning students from PreK.

Barbour County - Phillip Barbour High School: $300,000

Grant monies will help expand the New Tech High School program in Phillip Barbour High School.   Currently, West Virginia has two existing New Tech High Schools, Buffalo High School in Putnam County and Phillip Barbour which were established through the 2012 Dropout Innovation Zone grants.

McDowell County Career and Technical Center: $46,500

Grant monies will fund an exploratory program designed to generate interest through an innovative, hands-on mentoring experiences for middle school students in order to prepare and enhance the transition from middle to high school.

Kanawha County Schools - Mary C. Snow; Stonewall Jackson, Capital High School: $300,000

Grant monies will allow the implementation of a comprehensive Community Schools Model and a continuation of services for students and the communities served through these three schools. 

Mercer County Schools- Bluefield High, Junior and Intermediate Schools:  $219,499

Grant monies will enable Mercer County to continue its 9th Grade Academy and focus on tutoring and interventions in collaboration with Bluefield State.  College of education students will provide tutoring and summer academies for at-risk students at all three schools.

The following are priority areas identified for this year’s application. Guidance documents and resources are linked to each priority.


During the 2013 legislative session, Governor Tomblin sponsored several key education reform initiatives through Senate Bill 359 and charged the WV Board of Education with supporting the successful implementation.


2012 Innovation Zones Award Recipients


2011 Innovation Zones Award Recipients


School Innovation Zones Act

WV Code §18-5B.

In July 2009, The School Innovation Zones Act was created as an opportunity for schools to apply for a funding grant which will support their ability to use creative and innovative ways to improve student learning. In this Act the West Virginia Legislature focuses on giving schools permission for exceptions to county and state board rules and policies that inhibit them from implementing creative and innovative steps and programs that enhance student learning. Schools that are designated Innovation Zones sites provide a testing ground for innovative educational programs by providing information regarding the effects of those innovations, documenting educational strategies that enhance student success, and increasing the accountability of public schools for student achievement as measured by the state assessment and local assessments. Click on this link to read the code in its entirety.

In July 2011, The School Innovation Zones Act was amended to include Policy 3236 Local Solution Dropout Prevention and Recovery Innovation Zones.The purpose of this bill is to reduce the number of high school dropouts in West Virginia.

  • Innovation and Dropout Prevention Senate Bill 228


    The West Virginia National Governor’s Association Dropout Prevention Grant Taskforce proposed the creation of Local Solutions Graduation Fund so that schools and communities can apply for funding for projects that increase the number of students who graduate. Because school dropout is a community issue and not just a school issue, the admendment requires that applications be made by schools in partnership with community groups or other state agencies. Encouraging communities to develop collaborative solutions to their local dropout problem will spur innovation at the local level and strengthen relationships between schools, community groups, and the other agencies that work to prevent students from dropout.
    StarSchool Dropout Prevention Plan Guidance Document

    StarRESOURCE page for new presentations, forms, and guidance documents!


    Communities Unite for High School Success


    StarInnovation Zones Annual Report 2011

Do you have an idea that is anything but ordinary? Or perhaps you need a little inspiration, then take a look at these innovative ideas or read our Did You Know archives to help you get started on your own Innovation Zone plan.