Round Rock ISD has awarded $1.9 million in Innovative School Grants to 34 District campuses, challenging the winning schools to explore, enrich or design an exemplary model of innovation to serve students and the community.
The grants, ranging from $7,500 to 100,000, align with Goal 1 of the RRISD Strategic Plan, which states “we will implement, enhance and support innovative teachings and learning models.” Funded through 2016-2017 budget allocations, the grants were awarded through an internal application and interview process.
“To be the Destination District for Public Schools, we must empower our students and staff to create destination schools,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Flores said. “The Innovation School Grants are an exciting opportunity for our schools to be creative and think outside of the box to benefit our students and community.”
The Innovative School Grants consist of three tiers — Tier I: Explore, Tier II: Enrich and Tier III: Exemplar. Tier III grants will be awarded September 30.
Tier I grants provide up to $50,000 over a one-year period to allow a campus to investigate and explore an innovative practice or model within a small scope. The one-year period provides the campuses an opportunity to determine the effectiveness and sustainability of the learning model.
The following schools received Tier I grants ranging from $11,250 to $50,000:
The Extended Apprenticeship will be modeled and adapted from the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PY) Career Program and the already existing Anderson Mill Apprenticeship Program. Students will have classes that extend their learning in career fields that provide hands-on opportunities while gaining math, science, reading, and critical thinking skills.
The staff at Bluebonnet Elementary will partner with community sponsors to provide enrichment opportunities for students throughout the 2016-2017 school year to ensure that despite the challenges and obstacles that exist, students are given access to experiences that will benefit them academically, physically, emotionally, and socially. Discovery Hour will expand the impact of the academic day through authentic, high-interest enrichment opportunities, providing students with safe, supervised time to experiment and develop in all aspects of their being: cognitive, affective, social, physical, attentional, and language development.
All instructional staff at Bluebonnet Elementary School will engage in data-based professional development in the Innovation Think Tank at Bluebonnet to increase student achievement and teacher effectiveness while working to eliminate disparities among student populations.
Students will explore music through innovative methods. With a classroom set of 25 iPads, with cases, MimioTeach and Apple TV for each classroom, students will hold the key to integrated learning through hands-on materials, both as a class and as an individual.
Training and support will be provided to staff to prepare for the Google Certified Educator exams. Mastering these exams will demonstrate each staff members’ ability to use Google for Education tools in a classroom setting. Every teacher and administrator should be adept in working with students and fellow teachers using the collaborative tools provided by Google
Jollyville Elementary will add and/or enhance opportunities for students to be exposed to Science, Technology Engineering, Arts and Math to be better prepared for the current job climate. These opportunities would either improve current instructional practices during the day or provide free enrichment sessions after school.
The grant creates a Learning Commons (LC) in the Jinx Lacey Memorial Library (JLML), housing a teaching classroom area that includes three fluid makerspaces. Teachers will utilize the classroom space for projects requiring creation technology, such as an American Sign Language (ASL) classes creating tutorials for our deaf education students.
The grant will help at-risk students develop skills that will bridge the gap between students who are the first generation in their families to graduate high school and aspire to attend college. The Pre-ACT will give the students access to precisely organized data for achievement and success for the students.
The grant will turn hallways, portables and library into flexible work spaces that will not only give the student population more places to work but our community groups and after school clubs new spaces to meet and work as well.
The grant will create an Inquiry Lab on campus as a Flexible Learning Space for students and teachers that will foster creativity and innovation. Funds will be used to purchase furniture for the space that promotes flexible, multipurpose, collaborative and explorative learning experiences.
Create flexible learning environments to provide a space that meets the needs of multiple learning styles, foster self-awareness, and independent learners, minimize distractions and strengthen collaboration within the classroom community.
Tier II grants provide up to $100,000 over a one-year period to allow a campus to improve and enhance a current instructional model or design to create a higher quality innovative campus.
The following schools received Tier II grants up to $100,000:
The campus theme this year will be “Berkman Arts Integration Academy: A Premier Year.” The grant will enhance Berkman Elementary School’s transition as the school “rolls out the red carpet” for the Arts Integration Academy by providing extended day opportunities for students in their areas of interest, as well as support for teachers implementing arts integration during the school day.
The grant will support Arts and Academic Integration (AIA) at C.D. Fulkes Middle School with a goal for students to show mastery of content through the six strands of art: dance, literary arts, moving image, arts, music, theatre, and visual arts.
The grant will transform Cactus Ranch Elementary School into a School of Communication with a focus on four areas: Social Skills and Collaboration, Global Communication, Digital/Social Media Literacy, Public Speaking and Performing Arts.
The Caldwell Heights Elementary School Dual Language and IB School will enhance the global perspective of elementary school learners and improve language competencies of second-language learners.
Classroom furniture will encourage movement and core strength, streamline curriculum with physical activity and engage students in meaningful academic instruction. The campus will adjust the master schedule to incorporate time for more moderate to vigorous physical fitness, and engage staff and community in the SPARK initiative.
Caraway Academy is an enrichment opportunity embedded within the school day that takes students on adventures where they are provided learning opportunities for specific, self-selected enrichment. STEAM-based activities that extend beyond the traditional curriculum. In addition to weekly enrichment opportunities, all students at Caraway will have frequent access to our Innovation Lab, which will provide a safe space for students to create, invent, and engage in collaborative learning.
The grant will create and implement Flexible Unit Plans that allow all students to be challenged and learn to start at their level of academic readiness. The full implementation of a Self Advocacy Google Form will enable students with disabilities and English Language Learners (ELL) to take ownership of the skills they need to learn. The grant also includes the piloting of a virtual classroom using Texas History lessons for students that prefer independent, self-paced learning.
The grant will fund additional coaching and training days from the Franklin Covey organization to achieve Lighthouse School status.
The project-based, cross-curricular project will unite sixth-grade mainstream education students, various special populations groups and art students to celebrate and better understand the diversity that is abundant on campus. Mainstream students will work hand-in-hand with deaf education and functional academic and communication students to foster a greater understanding that even though everyone is different and unique, the students are all very much the same. This program will provide many ways to promote an inclusive environment for everyone on campus and to provide a multitude of opportunities for differentiation of open and expressive demonstration of knowledge.
The grant will provide developmentally appropriate STEAM lessons and enrichment for elementary school students by increasing the variety and quantity of robotics, coding, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum and materials available for teams. School-wide enrichment, maker-spaces, Genius Hour, computer science, real-world application, creativity and talent development will all be accomplished through systematic implementation of STEAM-PBL.
The grant will purchase each teacher an iPad, as well as classroom iPads with a 4:1 ratio to begin Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Launch. PLTW Launch is a nationally recognized STEM program designed for elementary school students.
Great Oaks Elementary School will become a Leadership Academy and will adopt Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People as skills staff will model and teach to students. The campus will implement The Leader in Me training beginning August 8.
The grant will further Grisham Middle School’s #InnovationNation initiative, which developed a MakerSpace, Student Study Lounge and utilized Kano Computers during the 2015-2016 school year. This year aims to broaden student access through thoughtful design that empowers students and staff with new skill sets. This year’s theme is “Innovation by Design” which means intentionally using the IB Design Cycle to enable student-generated learning in STEM Education.
Hernandez Middle School will begin establishing its designation as an IB STEM Campus. The campus will create classes, systems and processes needed to foster student interaction and learning around science, technology, engineering, and math. The grant will enhance current IB curriculum for science, technology (design) and mathematics with interdisciplinary connections to engineering, with the goal of deepening understanding in all three contents. Also, the grant will ensure students graduate from Hernandez with high levels of literacy/numeracy that prepare them for courses in STEM at the high school level and beyond.
Laurel Mountain Elementary School will develop a space near the current playground into a natural playground that includes sensory-play features, construct an outdoor classroom and performance amphitheater and improve the trail around the campus. The three projects will increase accessibility for younger students and students with mobility disabilities to our outdoor spaces and decrease stress and anxiety of students.
Robertson Elementary School will begin a five-year Blended Learning implementation, complete with technology and traditional lessons to allow students to accelerate learning at their own pace. The first year will also have increased professional development opportunities.
The “Globe for All” initiative is a multi-layered, multi-year project. The purpose of the initiative is to imbue a passion for language in students, teachers and our community. To transform this passion into a profound and personal relationship with the language and ignite a burning desire to create and share our stories. This endeavor will begin with the creation of a scale replica of Shakespeare’s Globe on campus. This Globe will be housed in the current Black Box Theatre space and will serve as the hub for most of the activities.
Old Town Elementary School will implement the first phase moving towards a World Language School designation. All students in the general education setting will be provided with the opportunity to develop their bilingual and bicultural capabilities. Every participating student will be provided with 50 minutes of Spanish instruction per week. In addition to developing each student’s bilingual capabilities, the program will also foster intercultural understanding and sense of respect for others.
“Stallion Innovative Time” will include a designated time for every student to explore, play, and create while pursuing his/her individual passions. The grant will create a unique learning space designed to facilitate student exploration through a hybridization of activities. Materials will be provided for students to explore their passions, conduct research, and create meaningful projects.
Stony Point High School will implement the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) either as a stand-alone two-year program for freshman and sophomore students or partner with a feeder middle school to better prepare students to graduate under the IB Diploma Programme.
The grant will provide ongoing Arts Integration in Action professional development for staff through partnering organizations like Creative Action or the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Creativity Camp will offer quality fine arts-related after school opportunities for students for academic enhancement, enrichment, and college and career readiness.
The following campuses received $7,500 each to purchase flexible furniture and to facilitate the continuance of creating an innovative climate for students and teachers:
- Canyon Vista Middle School,
- Cedar Ridge High School,
- Double File,
- Fern Bluff,
- Gattis Elementary School,
- Hopewell Middle School,
- Ridgeview Middle School and
- Voigt Elementary School.