We believe educators have the potential to innovate almost every aspect of student learning in their schools and need support from administrators and policymakers to realize that potential. Given the premium put on innovation in most other aspects of our lives – in business, technology, and other crucial fields – its role in public education should be equally as important. For many years, the main model for school improvement was based on compliance through high stakes testing and accountability. Yet, there is another model that education leaders and policymakers could pursue and that is encouraging teachers and schools to create innovate approaches to pedagogy, curriculum, assessment, school design, governance, scheduling, and relationships.
Our goals are to bring together policymakers, educators, and business representatives to identify innovations in NC schools along with the barriers to implementation and to build support for school improvement via innovation. We are building on these goals to emphasize the importance of creating an infrastructure to support innovation. We highlight innovative programs and practices from across the state, providing the opportunity to brainstorm collectively solutions to problems of practice through design thinking. We hope educators will iterate and implement these innovations in their classrooms and schools and communities.
This work launched on May 13 with the Watson College of Education at UNC Wilmington, which held its second annual conference on innovative practices in North Carolina titled, “Making Innovation a Priority in NC Schools.” The program for the conference is below.