Innovation at 287
Since 2010, we've been implementing a strategic and purposeful plan to increase the quality and amount of innovation at District 287. All of our innovation is aimed at two goals: to help students learn better and to help staff work more effectively. More than simply emphasizing innovative projects, however, we've worked to build systems that allow innovation to continually flourish and that foster a culture of innovation.
One of the systemic changes we implemented was to create a team of Innovation Coaches, loosely modeled after Google's "20% Time" Project. Basically we've carved out 10 to 40% of a dozen teachers' and educational assistants' workloads and dedicated that time to working with staff to build innovative projects at their sites. Now in our third year, we're happy to report that the project has been a high success. We've implemented over 250 projects at our sites, ranging from the creation of our iPad/iPhone apps that help Special Education students learn better to our community-sponsored KidPack Program, which sends students from disadvantaged households home from school with a backpack of food to help them get through the weekend. Go here to see a list of our current Innovation Coaches, complete with links to get in touch.
At the same time as we've worked to build innovative projects at District 287, we've worked equally hard to build a culture of innovation and to streamline our system of innovation. This section of our website provides some insight into how we approach innovation in education. You can learn more about how we're building a Culture of Innovation, or see how we measure innovation in the district. The menu on the left also provides links to other areas of interest, such as our Innovation Coach driven Tech Tips Blog, our Innovation Forum that fuels our ideas, and some of the innovation resources and concepts we've used in skill-building in our Innovation Coaches. Enjoy!