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Innovation Zone Explained

Why an INNOVATION ZONE must exist.

In their 2010 publication entitled Innovation-Based Systemic Reform, Education|Evolving explains the concept of a Split-Screen Strategy as “working simultaneously to develop new and different models of school while continuing also to do everything possible to improve the existing schools in the traditional district sector.” The Innovation Zone is not meant to replace, but to create space where fundamental innovation can occur alongside a system that is already in place. Those teachers and students that want to continue with the work they are doing may do so, while those teachers and students that want to try something totally new are able to do that.

Existing System

School districts across our nation are structured in nearly identical ways. The board of education is charged with overseeing and implementing a uniform education system. Given the challenges of running so many schools they hire a superintendent who implements common policies and procedures across all schools, and principals are hired to see to the administration of these policies. Because of the necessary interdependency of the system it makes change difficult. Little autonomy exists for schools in the areas of organization, learning/teaching, and achievement.

exiting system

How to create your INNOVATION ZONE

The purpose of the Innovation Zone is to make innovation a district priority by establishing conditions favorable to people trying new things. To create an Innovation Zone the district board commits to provide schools with autonomy over areas such as budget, staffing, and curriculum in exchange for a clear perfor- mance agreement. The performance agreement may include specific innovative ideas the teachers will try, or it may simply provide the self-direction for teachers to begin trying new things.

To begin with, the schools in this space may only constitute a small portion of the district’s schools. The role of the district board begins to evolve to overseeing a “portfolio” of schools while the superintendent becomes more like a CEO overseeing different units.

 how to create your iz

Split Screen Model - INNOVATION ZONE

By creating an Innovation Zone in a district, a “split screen” strategy is employed. The majority of the district (90-95%) remains the same white house and continues with the important, ongoing work of continuous improvement. Meanwhile 5-10% of the district is in the Innovation Zone governed by its own board and the school has autonomy in the areas of organization, learning, and achievement blue house. Only those students and teachers that wish to attend schools in the Zone do so – nobody is forced to attend the innovative schools. This has the distinct advantage of enabling innovative ideas to develop gradually, and among those interested in it. It is also more practical: The Innovation Zone exists alongside the other schools in the district. Innovation within the framework of providing choice is the way in which most systems transform.

split screen

Are you ready to INNOVATE?

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