THE FWSU STORY: FWSU Hosts National School Innovation Leader

A focus on the future and the important role our students have in that future has been a driving force across FWSU for many years. I’ve always believed that our district’s goal is to have students prepared to change the world for the better. It is a big goal; it is an essential goal. To reach that goal our schools are built on opportunity for our students. 

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Opportunity is driven by the FWSU Action Plan’s four targets. The four target areas for our action plan: proficiency-based personalized learning, leadership, engaged community partners and flexible learning environments. The targets are meaningful and over the years have made our schools feel more human and less industrial.

Students learn using helpful technologies

Students interact in a classroom

1:1 devices used by students for personalized learning

A concentration on innovation, creativity, and opportunity have opened doors for our students and our schools. FWSU schools have been recognized as Apple Distinguished Programs, we have been awarded Exemplar status by P21, we have been recognized by IVECA as a Distinguished Global District and we are one of one hundred districts in the United States selected to the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools.

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In the last few years, each of our schools launched Innovation Labs to enhance our STEM opportunities for every student. Students in our schools regularly reach out and work with students across the globe. Teachers and students are consistently engaged in real-world research, they present locally and nationally. Last year FWSU students presented at conferences in New Orleans and San Francisco. BFA Fairfax High School had three students in three years selected as Vermont Presidential Scholars. This year students are traveling to China. Throughout our system, students are taking their learning to new levels.

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Earlier this week FWSU hosted a visit from Devin Vodicka, Chief Impact Office of the AltSchool. Devin visits schools all over the country to learn about best learning practices and learning opportunities. He then shares those best practices to the AltSchool and the AltSchool network. We were honored that Devin traveled from San Francisco to see FWSU students and teachers in action. After the visit was finished, Devin remarked to me how impressed he was with our focus on innovation and how we have created student-centered learning environments.  Great feedback for our continued growth as a system.

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Ned Kirsch Superintendent

Ned Kirsch is the Superintendent of Schools at Franklin West Supervisory Union. He is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow him on Twitter at @betavt.

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