By Zach Armstrong
DINWIDDIE, Va -- Dinwiddie County Public Schools were recognized by the Virginia Board of Education as one of five Virginia school divisions as “School Divisions of Innovation” for designing and implementing alternatives to traditional instructional practices and school structures to improve student learning and promote college and career readiness and good citizenship.
Other school divisions including Bristol, Fairfax County, Fauquier County and Frederick County in addition to Dinwiddie will retain the innovation designation for five years. The divisions are required to report annually to the Virginia Department of Education on progress toward meeting the goals and performance targets of their plans.
Dinwiddie County was recognized for creating a Workforce Ready Diploma Seal to provide a model and pathway so students are competitive and can access high-quality employment after high school. The seal will signify to partnering businesses and industries that graduates possess the skills needed to enter and succeed in the workforce.
“The School Divisions of Innovation program provides a laboratory for innovative approaches to improve outcomes for students and determine whether these innovations have the potential to impact statewide policy decisions,” Board of Education President Daniel Gecker said in a release. “The board looks forward to seeing how these divisions move forward with their innovations and how they impact student performance and outcomes.”
The School Divisions of Innovation program was authorized by the 2017 General Assembly. The divisions recognized at the Board of Education’s September business meeting are the second group of divisions to earn the designation.
To earn the School Division of Innovation designation, a local school board must submit a plan meeting criteria set forth in the Board of Education regulations governing the recognition program.
Other school divisions named are implementing similar initiatives for the honor such as Bristol whose recent initiative is to support students as they prepare for life after high school by providing graduating seniors with post-secondary designations as college, military or workforce ready.
Similarly, Fairfax County is implementing the Fairfax County Portrait of a Graduate to provide equity in access, opportunity, and outcomes for all students. Performance will be measured through end-of-year presentations requiring students to curate evidence of learning and academic growth over time in a portfolio.
“I congratulate all of these divisions for their commitment to maximizing the potential of all students with innovative approaches that provide meaningful career exploration and work-based learning opportunities, prepare students with real-world skills for work after high school, and enhance learning by increasing motivation and engagement,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane in a release.