W.Va. Board Approves Statewide Innovation Zone Project Funding

January 12, 2011

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education voted Wednesday to award nearly $363,000 to 13 schools or consortiums seeking to become School Innovation Zones.

The School Innovations Zone Act 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 board approved funding for the following projects:

1.     Clay County: Clay County Schools, $7,500
2.     Grant: Dorcas Elementary, $20,000
3.     Greenbrier: Rupert Elementary, $49,999
4.     Harrison: Nutter Fort Intermediate, $24,570
5.     Jefferson: South Jefferson Elementary, $18,300
6.     Kanawha: Elk Elementary, $31,765
7.     Mercer: Pikeview Middle, $41,150
8.     Monongalia: Easton and Woodburn elementaries, $25,500; Monongalia County Tech Education, $3,800
9.     Ritchie: Ritchie County High, $48,465
10.Upshur: Union Elementary, $40,416
11.Wood: Fairplains Elementary, $46,900
12.West Virginia Department of Education Institutional Education: Davis-Stuart School, $4,200

 “Giving teachers the opportunity to make changes in their schools is an important step to implementing research-based 21st century teaching and learning and Global21,” said state Superintendent of Schools Ted Mattern. “Innovation Zones allow schools to adapt to changing times and embrace new ideas and new teaching strategies so that our children prosper in the 21st century.”

Applications for Innovation Zone implementation funding were evaluated by a committee, which looked at many factors including creativity and innovation; staff commitment; parental and community support; sustainability; and potential for success. Altogether 26 applications were received. Project submitters that did not receive funding have been encouraged to modify their plans and resubmit them for consideration prior to Feb. 15.

 For more information, contact Michelle Blatt, Innovation Zones coordinator, at 304-558-3199, or 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. 

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