The Montgomery County public school system was among 15 school divisions recognized Thursday by the state Board of Education as “School Divisions of Innovation.”
The local school system received the recognition for designing and implementing alternatives to traditional instructional practices and school structures that improve student learning and promote college and career readiness, and good citizenship.
The divisions are the first to earn the designation, which was authorized by the 2017 General Assembly.
“I think it is fair to say that innovation has never been more important in public education than today as schools across the commonwealth and nation focus on improving distance learning in the face of a pandemic while addressing inequities in opportunities and outcomes,” Board of Education President Daniel Gecker said. “I congratulate the leaders of all these school divisions for creating innovative plans to address the challenges in their schools and engage their students in deeper learning across the curriculum.”
The Montgomery County public schools were recognized for four distinct innovations: creating and offering new information technology curricula through dual enrollment, creating new associate degree pathways, developing an alternative model for professional studies and embracing and supporting work-based learning experiences.
Two other school divisions in Southwest Virginia were recognized as innovative.
The Roanoke County Public Schools were cited for implementing multiple approaches and opportunities supporting deeper learning and for focusing on improving climate and culture through innovations in positive behavioral interventions and supports.
The Salem Public Schools were recognized for implementing standards-based grading and reporting, providing opportunities for extended summer learning, facilitating expanded opportunities for career exploration and for expanding computer science curriculum and learning opportunities
To earn the School Division of Innovation designation, a local school board must submit a plan meeting criteria set forth in the Board of Education regulations governing the recognition program. Divisions earning the designation must submit an annual report to the Virginia Department of Education on progress toward meeting the goals and performance targets in their plans. Divisions retain the School Division of Innovation designation for three years.