The Fox Chapel Area School District and Montour School District are two of 19 new school districts from across the nation that have been accepted into the League of Innovative Schools. The League is a national coalition of forward-thinking school districts organized by Digital Promise, an independent, bipartisan nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to accelerate innovation in education.
Fox Chapel Area was selected from a competitive and national pool of applicants based on its leadership, evidence of results, innovative vision for learning, and commitment to collaboration. Specifically, the district was accepted into the League based on its innovative programs, including the comprehensive K-12 computer science curriculum with digital badging at the elementary level, the district’s infusion of Maker-education and project-based learning, and the various educational technology and research partnerships it has developed with institutes of higher education and local entrepreneurs. Megan Cicconi, Fox Chapel Area School District’s Director of Instructional and Innovative Leadership attributes the honor to the districts teachers “Simply put, our teachers are willing to evaluate students’ needs and take the necessary steps to ensure student growth. In this day and age, that means creating innovative opportunities to demonstrate mastery and work in authentic roles. We are thrilled to be recognized for their dedication and for our administration’s visionary leadership”.
Montour School District was selected because of its Student-Centered…Future-Focused mindset. Specifically, the district was accepted into the League based on its partnership with Carnegie Mellon University providing an in-house educational research center called the Learn Lab, Virtual Immersion Lab, a commitment to Digital Citizenship and its emphasis on high-quality of professional development including partnering with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit to open transformED West.
Michael Ghilani, Ed. D., identifies key aspects of Montour’s success saying “ We always consider our Core Values of Putting Children First, Developing a Growth Mindset and Promoting a Learning Culture. This is what makes us successful and we are honored that the League of Innovative Schools recognizes that.”
In addition to the Fox Chapel Area School District and the Montour School District, the Avonworth, Elizabeth Forward, and South Fayette Township school districts are current members of the League and have been accepted within the past few years.
According to Fox Chapel Area School District Superintendent, Gene Freeman, Ed.D., “The Pittsburgh region is the only region nationally to have such a high induction rate into Digital Promise’s prestigious ‘League of Innovative Schools.’ The Fox Chapel Area School District is grateful to the Remake Learning Network and our local foundations for their dedication to creating a culture of innovation in our city. We are honored to be identified as one of the top 19 most innovative schools in the nation and we look forward to sharing our expertise and gaining valuable insight from other national leaders.”
The League of Innovative Schools, launched in late 2011, accepts new members through an open application process once per year. With the new members, the League now includes 87 school districts in 33 states, representing nearly 3.3 million students.
“The League of Innovative Schools connects and rallies the most dynamic leaders of the nation’s school districts in order to advance positive change in public education,” said Sara Schapiro, senior director of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools. “As Digital Promise celebrates its fifth anniversary, we’re excited to welcome our new League members and amplify their insights to help others support teaching and learning with technology.”
League members are represented by their superintendent, who commits to:
- Attend biannual League meetings, which feature classroom visits, collaborative problem-solving, and relationship-building with peers and partners;
- Join working groups on a broad range of topics relevant to the changing needs of school districts;
- Engage with entrepreneurs to advance product development and meet district needs;
- Support research that expands what we know about teaching and learning; and
- Participate in the League’s professional learning community by connecting with other members online, in person, and at each other’s school districts.
In addition to the superintendents’ participation, there are also opportunities for other school administrators, principals, and teachers to participate in League and Digital Promise initiatives.
The League will officially welcome new members at its fall 2016 meeting November 2-4, 2016, in Baltimore County. The meeting will host about 200 national school leaders and prominent education experts, entrepreneurs, and officials, with the goal of addressing shared priorities and setting goals that district leaders will pursue throughout the year.