Innovation Schools Will Receive Focused Support to Raise Student Performance, Narrow Achievement Gaps

May 14, 2013
Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Superintendent Joshua P. Starr announced the names of 10 schools that will participate in a new initiative to improve student performance and narrow achievement gaps. Dr. Starr made the announcement during the Montgomery County Board of Education meeting on Tuesday (May 14, 2013).

The district’s first 10 Innovation Schools will receive intense support in designing and implementing innovative school improvement strategies and professional learning plans, beginning in 2013-2014. The district’s Chief School Improvement Officer will serve as the case manager for each school and make sure the strategies and plans are implemented and supported by central office.

The Innovation Schools are Clopper Mill, Strathmore, and Watkins Mill elementary schools; Argyle, A. Mario Loiederman, and Montgomery Village middle schools; John F. Kennedy, Springbrook, and Watkins Mill high schools; and the alternative programs.

“The 10 Innovation Schools have already shown a commitment to school improvement and have the staff and leadership in place to accelerate that progress,” Dr. Starr said. “These schools will serve as a model for how collaborative work, with one other and with central office, can lead to great outcomes for our students.”

Innovation Schools were first identified through an examination of a variety of student outcome data, spanning all grade levels. Other factors were then considered, including the status of current school improvement efforts and leadership. Community superintendents and other staff in the Office of School Support and Improvement (OSSI) developed the final list of Innovation Schools.

The Chief School Improvement Officer will work with each school to conduct a needs assessment that will allow for the development of an improvement plan customized to the needs of each school. The improvement work in each school will be led by the principal and his or her leadership team.  Among the supports that will be provided to the Innovation Schools are:
- Regular coaching and support to the principal, leadership team, and student support team to implement improvement strategies across the school;
- Assistance in the design of school-based professional learning sessions;
- Use of progress monitoring systems to track improvements;
- Monthly collaborative learning sessions for principals in the Innovation Schools Network.

“We chose the term Innovation Schools because these schools will use creative strategies and ideas to improve student achievement and then share what they have learned with other schools throughout the district,” said Beth Schiavino-Narvaez, deputy superintendent of school support and improvement. 

Board of Education Memo on Innovation Schools

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