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Montgomery County earns state school innovation designation

Montgomery County earns state school innovation designation

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Kelly Passek, a librarian with Montgomery County Public Schools, prepares books for drone delivery in the Christiansburg area. Montgomery County is now a state “School Division of Innovation.”

Montgomery County is one of 15 Virginia public school divisions to be recognized for innovation by the state Board of Education.

Those divisions received the “School Division of Innovation” designation for designing and implementing alternatives to traditional instructional practices and school structures that improve student learning and promote college and career readiness, and good citizenship.

Montgomery County was recognized for:

• Creating and offering new information technology curricula through dual enrollment.

• Creating new associate degree pathways.

• Developing an alternative model for professional studies.

• Embracing and supporting work-based learning experiences.

The divisions are the first to earn the designation, which was authorized by the 2017 General Assembly.

“I think it is fair to say that innovation has never been more important in public education than today as schools across the commonwealth and nation focus on improving distance learning in the face of a pandemic, while addressing inequities in opportunities and outcomes,” Board of Education President Daniel Gecker said. “I congratulate the leaders of all these school divisions for creating innovative plans to address the challenges in their schools and engage their students in deeper learning across the curriculum.”

Other divisions recognized in the region are Roanoke County and Salem.

“Virginia’s 132 school divisions have a history of sharing innovative and promising practices to improve student learning and outcomes and the School Division of Innovation recognition program is a means of institutionalizing this collaborative process,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane. “I look forward to visiting all of these school divisions to see how their innovations are transforming teaching and learning.”

To earn the innovation designation, a local school board must submit a plan meeting criteria set forth in the Board of Education regulations governing the recognition program. Divisions earning the designation must submit an annual report to the Virginia Department of Education on progress toward meeting the goals and performance targets in their plans. Divisions retain the School Division of Innovation designation for three years.

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