Innovation – Just as Easily a Home in the Classroom as in the Research Lab

Every day across the 26 school communities of Albemarle County Public Schools, educators are creating, designing, and making learning experiential, active, and powerful.  They have one primary goal–to engage young people in their own learning–and at a higher level than the day before.  Students are becoming increasingly adept designers, creators, and makers of learning. Their voice has value. They develop a sense of agency and empowerment and as a result, our students are influencing schools and communities and ultimately, they will influence our state and nation.

When I share our work with people beyond our boundaries, there’s great interest in the individual stories of young people and in how our educators are building upon the assets of each student. At the recent Charlottesville TEDx, I shared some of these stories, underscoring the cultural change they have brought to our division.  It’s a culture now defined by continual interest and enthusiasm for learning that reaches into our fitness facilities, libraries, elective and maker spaces, hallways, cafeterias, and even onto our school buses.

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Dr. Pam Moran’s TEDx Charlottesville talk on “The Power of One” – November 2016

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Solar Power for Albemarle County Public Schools

In tandem with local environmental groups, students in the Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) spearheaded a campaign supporting renewable energy which resulted in over one megawatt of solar on the rooftops of six local schools.

A portion of the 279 kW installation at Sutherland Middle School
A portion of the 279 kW installation at Sutherland Middle School

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Albemarle County Public Schools, a Finalist in Competition for $10 Million Grant to Redesign High School Education

Albemarle County Public Schools has been selected as a finalist in a nationwide competition to redesign high school education. The XQ Institute, chaired by Laurene Powell Jobs, will select five applicants next month, each to receive grants of $2 million per year for up to five years. The purpose of the grants, according to the Institute, is to “rethink school in America in order to create new learning opportunities for young people and to open up the possibilities of a wider world.”

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