In November 2014, Boulder County taxpayers passed the largest bond in Colorado history. The $576 million package is providing much needed capital improvements to our district’s buildings, with a focus on Educational Innovation. The ultimate goal is to align building improvements with our district’s strategic plan–The Success Effect–so that our learning environments meet the needs of today’s students and students of the future.
Innovation in Boulder Valley School District
With the construction complete, BVSD now has four new buildings and one significant remodel: Emerald, Creekside, and Douglass Elementary Schools have been replaced with brand new buildings constructed on the same sites; the first BVSD school in Erie, Meadowlark, is a PK-8 that was built in the Flatirons Meadows Neighborhood; and Centaurus High School is undergoing a major renovation. These buildings now serve as BVSD’s “Exemplar Schools,” showcasing 21st Century School Design.
The efforts go beyond total re-builds. Innovation Funds are designated for each school: $200,000 for each elementary schools; $400,000 for each middle school; $600,000 for each K-8 school; and $800,000 for each high school. These funds will become available to schools during their assigned bond Phase. The developed guidelines and process will seek to align the work of The Success Effect and the BVSD Innovation Guiding Principles to the allocation of each site’s Innovation Funds.
Innovation Guiding Principles
We believe that learning is a journey inspired by authentic questions. Along the journey of inquiry, learners acquire knowledge, abilities, ways of thinking, and skills that shape them for the next journey. Inquiry can be initiated by facilitators seeking to guide the journey learners towards specific knowledge and skills, or more ideally, originate with the learner. We will foster a culture in which questions are as important as answers, and every learner is challenged/encouraged to inquire.
We believe that in order to succeed, we must try first. In the pursuit of understanding, learners must have the opportunity, guidance, and encouragement to take appropriate risks – expanding the limits of what they know and can do, or what might be the status quo. We support risk taking, big and small, for learners of all ages in the process of learning. We actively create a culture where curiosity is valued above rote memorization and failure in the pursuit of understanding is valued above complacency in the process of attainment.
We believe there are many ways to demonstrate deep understanding, and mastery of skills. Learners develop skills and demonstrate what they know in ways that others can see, understand, and build upon. Learners are challenged to present their understanding verbally, visually, digitally, and by completing projects in multiple mediums. Facilitators of learning and learners themselves will use a variety of tools and measure their skills and understandings in multiple ways.
We believe learning requires interaction. When learning takes place in isolation, there is no opportunity for interaction with thoughts of others. By providing opportunities for collaboration, students use the thinking of others to inspire, improve and reflect on their own learning. Learners will seek highly effective collaboration that produces deeper, meaningful learning. We aspire to foster a culture that encourages meaningful interaction, builds communities where all learners feel safe, heard, and valued.
5. Learning Is Powerful When Students Create Solutions to Authentic Challenges That Impact Their Local, National or Global Community
We believe the real world is the most relevant context in which to learn. When learners apply their knowledge and skills to challenges that impact the world they live in, they are more likely to be interested in what they are learning. Learning within authentic contexts provides students with a greater sense of purpose to their learning. We design and facilitate academically rigorous learning experiences, projects, case-studies, internships, and service learning that give learners the opportunity to make an impact on their immediate and broader communities.
We recognize the importance of learners developing skills and capacities to exercise high levels of self-management, ownership, and accountability over their own learning. We provide learning experiences which emphasize student autonomy, choice, self-assessment, multiple iterations, active exploration, and a variety of learning modalities. Teaching methods emphasize foundation building, structured guidance, facilitation, peer-to-peer teaching and review, connections with community, and other strategies designed to make learning meaningful, relevant, engaging and effective.
There’s plenty of evidence to back up the value of investing in innovative learning spaces.
Learn more about the Building for Student Success Program’s direct connection to implementing the