The Manhattan Middle School Innovation project will convert the school's library into a 21st Century learning center with a fully-equipped recording studio. In alignment with Manhattan’s mission, this space will support an environment where students learn to “combine academic excellence, artistic discipline, and social mindfulness to design solutions and successes.” The space will support our vision by fostering spaces where passionate educators can focus on creating student-centered learning experiences for students that “inspire confident, connected, capable human beings who innovate and think critically.” The project aligns with two of BVSD's six Innovation Guiding Principles: Learning is a Social Process and Mastery of Learning is Demonstrated in Multiple Ways. 

Results - Impact on Learning

During the first school year, the new space was used, educators were asked to monitor and track growth towards the outcomes identified in their project plan and present the findings in a digital story.  The story was framed by the question, "How is innovation shifting the story of learning at our school?" 

Project Photos

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Project Description

To develop the school's project, staff worked together to develop responses to the following guiding questions. 

1. Briefly describe the project that you plan to implement with your Innovation Funds.

At Manhattan Middle School, we would like to use our Innovation Funds to create a heart of the school that will allow us to flexibly meet the needs of students at all times. We are hoping to also use some of the funds to equip the green screen room. In equipping the library to serve as a 21st Century learning center, we will also use some of the funds to properly equip the space with technology tools to help students demonstrate mastery of learning in multiple ways. This technology will include a recording studio space that would need a green wall, cameras, and other equipment to enable students to produce high-quality work. We are also planning on using the funds to purchase *32 Chromebooks to give students access to devices in this new space. As part of this conversion, we are eliminating a computer lab that currently holds 32 desktop units. The Chromebooks will replace those while allowing us to expand capacity for access. 

Although the main focus for the funds will be used to renovate and equip the library as an innovative space, we hope to use the remainder of the funds to purchase new, flexible and versatile classroom furniture. The furniture in the building is very outdated and is cumbersome to move and rearrange, it is a barrier to our teaching practices. We hope that this part of the Innovation project will enable us to quickly adjust to multiple teaching modalities to better meet the needs of all students.

2. How will you involve stakeholders in the decision-making process concerning the use of the innovation funds for your site?  

The DAT was brought into the Innovation conversation early on in our planning stages. The Director of Educational Innovation spoke with our DAT as well as our staff (twice) about the use of the funds and the Innovation Guiding Principles.

Both John and Brent took staff to visit other Innovation Projects as well as recording studios in other districts. 

Manhattan developed an Innovation committee of about 8 people who have met weekly over the last month (and less frequently before this last month) to have conversations about what we want to see happen with learning in the space. This committee has done a lot of work and has provided John with a great deal of feedback and thinking on how to best invest these funds to instructionally benefit the greatest number of students. The committee also surveyed staff and students to obtain input on the possible use of the funds at the beginning of the process.

3. How does your project support The Success Effect? (BVSD's Strategic Plan-Mission/Vision/Goals)

As a best hope, we anticipate that this work will support the district’s mission of providing “challenging, meaningful and engaging learning” opportunities for each child in our school. Both the creation of the heart space in the library as well as the new classroom furniture will support Manhattan in our drive to meet the unique learning needs of each student. (Goal 1)

Goal #3 aligns with our vision for creating a heart space in our school as we see it as a place where students will experience “a safe, healthy, and inclusive environment.”

In alignment with Manhattan’s mission, this space will support an environment where students learn to “combine academic excellence, artistic discipline, and social mindfulness to design solutions and successes.” The space will support our vision by fostering spaces where passionate educators can focus on creating student-centered learning experience for students that “inspire confident, connect, capable human beings who innovate and think critically.”

4. Review the Innovation Guiding Principles and discuss with your stakeholders. How will your project align with one or more of the guiding principles?

This environment will support the Innovation Guiding Principle of “Mastery of Learning is demonstrated in multiple ways”. The flexibility and versatility of the space will support students’ demonstration of the learning by using multiple modalities outside of the more traditional method of direct instruction by the teacher. 

Learning is a Social process is the second Innovation Guiding Principle with which we will align our project goals. We hope this space will foster greater collaboration between students as well as between students and staff. As a heart space in the school, we hope this environment will foster a safe and healthy space for students to express themselves academically and artistically as they work to design solutions and successes. (As stated in our school’s mission.)

5. Determine what your learning outcomes are for your innovation. What will happen as a result of this innovation?

In alignment to “Mastery of learning is demonstrated in multiple ways”:

Students will actively participate in a culture of inquiry (5b)
Students will assume ownership for evaluating and monitoring their progress (3h)

Teachers will apply new and different ways of teaching new skills and evaluates their impact on student’s learning (4b)

In alignment with “Learning is a Social Process”:

Students will actively seek a variety of perspective in their learning (2b)
Students will work respectfully, collaboratively, and effectively to meet instructional objectives (3f)

Teachers will create collaborative activities with colleagues to

  • Improve teacher working and -student learning conditions through shared decision making (5a)

  • Share ideas to improve teaching and learning (5a)

  • Contribute to school goals (5a)

6. Determine how you will measure the progress towards and achievement of your learning outcome. What is your plan for gathering data to show that the change is positively impacting learning at your site?

We can use Educator Effectiveness data as a quantitative measure to see how we are progressing towards our goals.

Quantitatively we can:

  • Evaluate the increased use of the space. We hope to measure how much it is used and by whom it is used. We hope to see a variety of content areas leveraging the new innovative space.
  • Student feedback and teacher feedback collected via surveys, informal observation.

7. What professional learning and support might your staff might need in order to reach the desired learning outcomes for the space?

  • Support around incorporating Design Thinking Strategies into instruction
  • Professional Learning to best maximize use of the furniture
  • Professional Learning around using Production Room (green screen) equipment