Network Update: March 11, 2020
Is Crowd Engagement
the New Normal for
Innovative School Districts?
InnovateK12  members are winning innovation awards, securing grants, and transforming school culture by getting ALL stakeholders involved in the improvement process.

Don't wait any longer - become a member in 2020-21!
Stories from the Network
Members Harness the Wisdom of the Crowd

This has been such a great year for so many of our InnovateK12 members who are using crowd engagement, design thinking, and lean start-up to grow organizational effectiveness and transform their school cultures. Here are your member updates for March:

  • Innovative Districts + Innovative Foundations: JeffCo (CO) wins Colorado School Board Association award for partnership with Foundation.

  • Innovation Helps Districts Compete for New Teachers: Pine Island (MN) uses their culture of innovation to attract the best and brightest.

  • Student Event Drives Culture Shift: Eden Prairie (MN) students get ready to pitch their top prototypes to teachers at upcoming faculty meeting.

  • Grant Opportunities for InnovateK12 Members: Chaparral (KS) wins $3M five-year U.S. Department of Education School Climate and Culture grant based on culture of innovation.

  • Service Districts: High Desert (OR) launches first "service district" model for offering InnovateK12's toolkit to member districts.

  • New from InnovateK12 - PowerLoop: Organizations and solution providers feeling left out of the fun? InnovateK12's PowerLoop offers new opportunity for crowd engagement.

  • Innovation and the Mental Health Crisis: Over the past three years, a significant number of top ideas have focused on solving the mental health epidemic in our schools.

Join us in beautiful White Bear Lake, MN for our 3rd annual Innovation Summit! The Innovation Summit is an annual gathering of InnovateK12 member districts as well as districts who are interested in joining the network.

The Summit has been redesigned this year to feature two learner pathways, one that will focus on training new members and another that will celebrate top network ideas and approaches. The Innovation Summit will take place Monday, June15 and Tuesday, June16 2020 (earlier than the past two years!)

District + Foundation Partnership
JeffCo (CO) Receives School Board Innovation Award

The power of the InnovateK12 platform was on full display in Colorado recently when the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) awarded InnovateK12 member Jeffco (Jefferson County, CO) and the Jeffco Innovation Acceleration Fund program with the 2019 Student Achievement Award. Big congratulations to Chief Strategy Officer Tom McDermott and Innovation Specialist Lisa Summit for their innovative leadership and forward-thinking vision!

The CASB Student Achievement Award is presented annually to only two programs in the State and seeks to recognize exceptional High School and Middle School district programs that are innovative in nature or offer opportunities for each and every student to reach success. According to McDermott, "Getting our students involved made all the difference!"

Testing Flexible Work Days
Innovation Culture Supports Teacher Recruiting

Can InnovateK12 districts promote their emerging culture of innovation to attract teacher candidates? Especially during a nation-wide teacher shortage? Absolutely!

In Pine Island (MN), staff members voted "Workday Flexibility" to the top of the district's Project Ignite open challenge, and Superintendent Tammy Champa was up to the challenge. As Champa says, "It’s the goal of all of Pine Island's Project Ignite workshop ideas to move into a test phase." And this week Superintendent Tammy Champa was happy to announce the test phase of the #1 voted idea: Flexible Start and End Times.
EPHS Student Event Update:
Top Student Prototypes Are Pitched to Faculty

After a highly successful student innovation event in the fall where a significant percentage of the 3,200 students at Eden Prairie High School participated in the campaign “What could we do to improve YOUR experience at EPHS?” Principal Robb Virgin knows that the top ideas are desirable...but will they be viable and feasible?
Chaparral (KS) Secures $3M Grant
Culture of Innovation Leads to Grant Opportunities

Over the past two years, Chaparral Superintendent Josh Swartz and his team have encouraged stakeholders to “ Spark the Change: Take a Chance to Make a Change ” in their crowd-based innovation campaign managed by the team at InnovateK12. This effort has produced a positive response from staff and the Harper County (KS) community, located 60 miles SW of Wichita, but a recent School Climate grant award has further energized the district’s culture of innovation.

As Swartz worked on Chaparral’s innovation pipeline, he noticed that the small, rural school district (869 students) had a significant number of “school culture and climate” ideas that had the support of staff and community members. “The InnovateK12 platform collected ideas in a way that provided clarity in what the needs are in our area. Seeing this clarity as a leader provides direction in movement, knowing that the alignment exists,” Swartz explained. And now they have a $3M grant to fund this important work!
Service Districts Unite!
High Desert ESD Shows the Way

One of the most innovative ways to offer the InnovateK12 toolkit is through a consortium (e.g. ESD, BOCES, etc.). These collaborative organizations are always looking for new ways to support their members, and InnovateK12’s toolkit is a powerful service option. In Bend (OR), the High Desert Education Service District is a shining example of how an ESD can provide this kind of cutting-edge program. Click here to read more about High Desert's Director of Innovation Anna Higgins' efforts to offer the InnovateK12 toolkit to HDESD's members.
InnovateK12 for Solution Providers
Instant Feedback from Your Educator Crowd

The wait is over...InnovateK12 is now offering solution providers and educational organizations the same engaging ideation and feedback platform that it currently offers to its member schools!

The new PowerLoop tool helps solution providers engage their power users in a feedback loop driven by award-winning, crowd-based software that engages your users and helps you keep your finger on the pulse of your “crowd.” The PowerLoop platform is a new way to learn from your users while delighting them through a unique engagement and co-design experience.

Think of it as virtual Design Thinking that grows excitement for your product while helping you respond quickly to the priorities of your crowd.
The Power of Networks
Innovation & the Mental Health Epidemic

Over the past three years, InnovateK12 events have surfaced a wide range of ideas for addressing the growing mental health epidemic in our schools. As these ideas have been tested and scaled, they have helped our members take a positive approach to a problem that can feel overwhelming and heartbreaking.

In next month's InnovateK12 newsletter, we will showcase the top ideas in our network for addressing mental health concerns. Our goal is to shine a positive light on the power of the InnovateK12 toolkit to surface lean solutions to a particularly challenging set of mental health problems. Our hope is that everyone who comes in contact with our network can be inspired by these efforts to support students in creative ways. Check it out in the April newsletter.
Where are we in the innovation cycle?
Lean Prototype Implementation  
I nnovateK12 integrates the Lean Startup methodology into the Design Thinking process to ensure that all prototypes are lean. During this part of the innovation cycle, schools and districts are developing and testing prototypes to find innovative solutions that really work!