We are looking forward to presenting at a VSBA event for education foundations on November 19, 2019 at the Williamsburg Lodge. In addition to these notes, we’ll have a paper handout.
- Dr. Jeremy Raley, Superintendent
- Dr. John Hendron, Director of Innovation & Strategy
- Ms. Cyndy Brown, Executive Director – Goochland Education Foundation
What is learning innovation?
In a few words, it’s doing things differently, with an aim at improving our practice with teaching. We want both our teachers and students to have opportunities to try new things and test things out. It’s a belief that tinkering as a place in our profession. We want kids to see the value in learning. And as partners, the GEF wants to support STEM education and the cultivation of important skills such as creativity, communication, collaboration; in essence, the five Cs.
Innovating at learning means challenging the status quo. Innovation can be contrary to what we were taught in education school; it involves taking risks and seeing what happens when we create the proper conditions for seeing reflection, making, tinkering come together with authentic challenges.
Innovation many times is focused on what we do with new resources and tools. Do they offer new possibilities?
The process outset in our project allows for our teachers to think differently about how to approach student learning and builds-in reflection to consider the benefits with these new approaches.
What are barriers toward innovation with learning?
There are many barriers toward innovation inside the walls of a school. Some are easier than others to overcome. We brainstormed a few:
- mandated requirements,
- legacy of what schools look and feel like,
- fear of failure in trying new things,
- cost of new resources,
- accountability and state assessments,
- time and reflection to re-invent practice,
- constant change of new technology and deprecation of familiar resources…
We hatched a plan!
What if we could create a supportive culture in our schools and eliminate the cost of some of the resources that could spark an innovative idea or project?
The GEF has contributed up to $15,000 annually for strategic innovation grants. The school division has contributed up to $10,000 annually for an end-of-year symposium.
Each September grant applications are collected and in October, awards go out.
Teachers implement their projects and report back to the GEF by the end of the school year.
We host a 2-day event at the conclusion of the school year to celebrate the learning by teachers through their grant-funded projects. A full day of professional development is followed by a team-building event to help cultivate ownership of a continued sense of innovation toward learning for students. Teachers not involved in projects can learn from their peers through presentations.
The format of a grant program provides additional resources to encourage project-based learning in Goochland County. The grant process forces teachers to plan and collaborate about their project. Support is provided through our instructional technology coaches. The support of the GEF underpins the importance of developing soft skills for students and a pedagogical style that supports deeper learning. The symposium is a professional way to support our teachers’ innovative spirit and forces reflection on practice. Projects can leave an impact on their students, their school, and our teachers.
- Watch our Symposium ’17 video featuring highlights of our first event
- Watch our Symposium ’18 video featuring highlights of our second event
- Rangers to the Rescue – Collaborative Project (2016-17)
- Crank Up the Music – Collaborative Project (2017-18)
- Maker Mondays – Collaborative Project (2017-18)
- Goochland on the Green – Collaborative Project (2017-18)
- Sample Grant Application
- Goochland Education Foundation
- Goochland County Public Schools
- John Hendron – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cyndy Brown – email@example.com