The Monona Grove School District has been considering the possibility of opening an elementary/middle “Innovation Zone” school. The MGSD has a proud tradition of excellence in all our schools, and our teachers and staff are already doing great work and innovating. We want to continually challenge ourselves to explore and improve and try new research-based ideas.
With that in mind, a group of 24 MGSD teachers, administrators, community members, parents from both Cottage Grove and Monona, as well as experts from the Innovative Schools Network, were part of a planning team that focused on the work of exploring the idea of an "Innovation Zone" school concept to be considered in the MGSD. The well-represented group met onsite for more than 40 hours during the summer of 2016 in dozens of meetings and spent hundreds of hours off-site to complete the work they shared with the MGSD Board of Education on August 24, 2016. Additionally, a survey was sent on August 1, 2016, to registered families in the MGSD with children entering 4K - Grade 8 in the fall of the 2016-17 school year.
The potential exists to begin a new and different smaller-scale school that would also have district-wide benefits. The Innovation Zone school proposal focuses on the development of the whole child in an environment that prioritizes intellectual, physical, social and emotional growth. The proposed school model includes a strong sense of community that builds confidence, teaches independence as well as interdependence, and prepares students to become global citizens in a changing world. The model is based on the following four pillars:
- Educating through project-based learning, student-led inquiry and integrated subjects in a multi-age setting.
- Developing the whole child and encouraging healthy living.
- Building a strong sense of community and civic engagement.
- Preparing students to be global citizens in a changing world.