After the August Inservice viewing of Most Likely to Succeed, teachers in FWSU were invited to share a “belief in what is possible” by forming teams to participate in our first annual Launch FWSU innovation challenge.

launchfwsulogoTeachers were given time to think about some of the most pressing problems that need to be solved in proficiency-based, personalized learning; student-centered, flexible learning environments; student leadership; and engaged community partners.They also brainstormed innovative concepts they would like to address those problems. The goal was to come up with ideas that would maximize target-based transformation in FWSU:

New Action Plan Targets

Ten teams emerged with 10 innovative projects to bring forward in competition for six $1,000 innovation grants made possible by the Bay and Paul Foundation. Those FWSU teachers were invited to “Pitch the Panel” just like on the popular television show Shark Tank. Our distinguished panel of “sharks” included:

  • Barbara Murphy – Franklin 2 Representative to the Vermont Legislature
  • Jenn Karson – Lecturer and Communication Professional, UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
  • Dr. Ken Hood – Chairman of the Board at Vermont Center for International Learning Programs; Professor Emeritus UVM; Bay and Paul Foundation Affiliate


The panelists read and reviewed all applications, and used the “pitch” to support their mini-grant award decisions. Specifically, the panel looked for teams to demonstrate the following criteria in the pitch:

  • How the project connects with the FWSU Action Plan
  • How the project sparks innovation within the school community
  • How the project inspires creativity with students
  • How the project transforms learning for students
  • How your project leverages digital-age learning
  • How your project demonstrates a belief in what is possible

Here was one of the winning pitches presented to the judges:

The winners of the competition were:

Winning Proposals Presenters
BFA Professional Large-Format Printing BFA HS Freshman Core Team
BFA 21st Century Heritage & Sustainability Farm to School Club
BFA Ukulele Project BFA Music Department
GEMS Labyrinth GEMS Enrichment Team
FES Osmo STEAM Movement FES STEM Team
FES Mindfulness Project FES Mindfulness Team


“I am so excited for students to create professional visuals to demonstrate their skills and learning!” – Sara Villeneuve


“A great experience to hear many amazing ideas from colleagues and being able to put our ideas into action!”  – Sara Wolff


“Great opportunity to make my case for change to an audience of active listeners.” – Fred Griffin


Participating in the Launch pitch was exciting and a bit nerve-racking… We felt like we were on an episode of “Shark Tank!” – Sandi Simmons


“I loved being able to collaborate with colleagues and dream about what could be!” – MC Baker

Stay tuned for posts where teams will share updates on how their project is fueling innovation in FWSU!

3 thoughts on “FWSU Fuels Innovation with “Launch FWSU” Challenge

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