Orange County Public Schools’ Innovation Office opened in 2018 to support identified “Schools of Innovation” and to support staff in the implementation and development of innovative practices within and across these schools. Faculty and staff at the “Schools of Innovation” will have autonomy to put innovative ideas into practice. As a district, we will be able to “incubate” these practices; conduct action research to see if the innovation yields positive results; gather lessons learned around each implementation; celebrate successes and through diffusion “replicate” these practices on other campuses. Michael Fullan states in Freedom to Change that diffusion “connotes the spread of good ideas that are adapted as people take them on, or the seeking and adaptation of ideas from others.”
Current and Future Projects:
- Host Collaboration Meetings with Leadership of current Schools of Excellence and assist those who are interested in applying for “School of Innovation” status.
- Continue to assist identified schools that are not Schools of Excellence in the development of innovation projects and plans.
- Making the Middle Mean More: Service Learning, Entrepreneurship (Shark Tank), STEM, Teen Court, Model United Nations, Debate, Career Research/Job Shadow, Financial Literacy.
- Identifying and highlighting innovative practices across the district – demonstration classrooms, schools, etc. through use of social media, development of innovation website, blog and district podcast.
- Develop concept papers using the Hanover Research tool, Grants Department as resources to connect innovative ideas to funding sources.
- Facilitate Book studies: The Innovator’s Mindset, Talk to Me, Freedom to Change, The Power of Full Engagement, They WHY Axis, Design Your Life.Coordinate and develop “Appetite for Instruction” project to pair middle school students with primary elementary school teachers so the students can design apps to create centers for teachers to use at their whiteboards.
- Coordinate and develop “Making OCPS Family” outreach to current foster students who are enrolled in our schools to provide tours and presentations from CTE and job shadow experiences – Also, create an outreach pipeline to older foster students who have graduated out of our schools to offer jobs within the OCPS team.
- Develop and pilot “Student Voice – Student Choice” Grants – award several grants up to $1,000 each to student(s) who submit ideas for projects or experiences that direct and guide their own learning.
- Promote and implement “Still Life” project – pilot an authentic performance-based assessment in several art classrooms across the district in partnership with J Sasser, F Gilbert and their team.
- Out of Field teacher pilot – track key indicators on teachers who are hired out of field at innovation schools to gauge their rates of success.
- Convert conference room into an “innovation station” collaborative space.
- Facilitate “Making Music K8 Style” work in collaboration with S Evans and his team to bring together music teachers assigned to K8 schools to brainstorm ideas to improve the musical experience for students and to make more connections between the elementary and high school components of the curriculum.
- Branding and Marketing of Schools of Innovation and the Innovation Office.