The West Virginia Board of Education recently voted 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.
Among the projects the board approved funding for are: Grant County, Dorcas Elementary, $20,000; and Upshur County, Union Elementary, $40,416.
"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 the WVDE received 26 applications. 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, call Michelle Blatt, Innovation Zones coordinator, at 304-558-3199 or the Office of Communications at 304-558-2699.