Giving Compass’ Take:
• In Longmont Colorado, St Vrain Valley school district incorporates agile processes for innovation in classrooms to achieve academic excellence and support more student programs.
• How can donors help foster innovation and tech programming in school districts? Especially in public education?
• Here are five ideas for education innovation in 2019.
With thoughtful sustained leadership, big school districts can earn community trust, establish and maintain rigorous academic standards, and become agile—even innovative. That’s the lesson from schools in Longmont, Colo., north of Denver.
St. Vrain Valley Schools (@SVVSD) serves the city of Longmont and a dozen smaller communities in four counties stretching from the Continental Divide to the Plains and covering 411 square miles.
Serving 33,000 students in 60 schools, the district is growing by several hundred students each year and is likely to double in size over the next few decades as people continue to move to this area of robust growth, technology, and other incredible opportunities (with equally spectacular views).
When Don Haddad joined St. Vrain 19 years ago as a high school principal, the district was experiencing significant struggles. They lacked community trust, had a $14 million budget shortfall, and had never passed a local mill levy.
When he became superintendent 12 years ago, Dr. Haddad (@SVVSDsupt) began developing a team and building community support to work collaboratively developing a comprehensive mission and vision designed to provide a strong competitive advantage for every student.
In addition to a can-do attitude, the leadership team urged a shift in the focus from asking “What could our community do for us?” to “What could we do for our community?”
The new team began laying the groundwork for a strong foundation of rigorous academics and a plethora of incredible co-curricular programs in the areas of performing arts, visual arts, and much more. “We push academic excellence with an aligned system and a strong tech infrastructure,” said Haddad. “A strong foundation of academics serve as a platform for robust innovation.”
Stable and effective leadership is key to St. Vrain’s success at improving on traditional measures and developing innovative new programs.
Read the full article about agile innovation within public education by Tom Vander Ark at Getting Smart.
If you are looking for more articles and resources for K-12 Education, take a look at these Giving Compass selections related to impact giving and K-12 Education.
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