Innovations in Iowa’s Schools

This post covers innovative things going on now at Iowa schools that we came to find during research of TIJ #323. A second post will look at comments received about the show and innovation in Iowa’s schools.

What did we miss? Post a comment below.

Des Moines Public Schools set up a program called International Baccalaureate 2 years ago and has expanded to some middle and elementary schools since. Tamara Pfantz is IB contact for DMPS.

The technology director at Jewell-South Hamilton is Karl Hehr. “At SH we are using Moodle, and Ning to collaborate with other 1:1 schools in Spanish classrooms. Our 1:1 program in general.”

The efforts at Lisbon look a little different. Secondary principal Brian Downing says  “we take entire high school to Lake MacBride for a day each spring, call it Interim Day, relax, grill, fish, boat, trails, GR8 interaction!.” There’s a little Sigourney mixed in as well.  “Kids create cream and sandwich delivery this year, very cool entrepreneurship learning!” But the school is going tech next year. Downing adds, “Lisbon is implementing 1:1 grades 6-12 in the fall after 5-0 vote by board…good partnership with Van Meter and Newell Fonda.”

Price Lab in Cedar Falls is always looking for new ways to educate. Bridgette Wagoner says “come to Price Lab. We piloted interdisciplinary, project-based learning in J-term & will be doing it K-12 in May Term. ICC in action for sure!”

The Sioux Central in Sioux Rapids school board voted recently to add to the list of Iowa schools going to 1:1 computers to kids. Erin Olson told The Iowa Journal about their efforts. “Our journey to improve put us on the path to 1:1, other good stuff happening: advisory, inquiry, learning teams.” Erin adds, “student used her own artwork to illustrate a poetry anthology, student used personal animae and made a movie w/ poetry.”

Ms. Olson also made this post about what innovation is in this earlier comment.

Innovation: the power of determined educators relentlessly designing, creating, and implementing best practice. All of my classes are organized by essential questions including AP Language and Composition. Utilizing, AP students texted a response to question about the human connection prior to reading “No Man is an Island.” The poll provided instant feedback and guided reading while increasing student interest. They concluded with a Socratic seminar. The summer before the school year, students blogged as they read an assigned text. Being innovative requires an analysis of need, of current issues, of relevant material while utilizing available tools including technology.

Tomorrow: Comments we received on the show. One may vary dramatically from the others.

Here’s the link to that page.


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