Monarch K-8's Innovation project will create a flexible learning space in each of the grade level PODs. These spaces will extend/expand classrooms, creating opportunities for multiple modalities of learning. The project aligns with two of BVSD's six Innovation Guiding Principles: Learning is a Social Process and Learning is Personalized and Learner Led.

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


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.

We plan to create a flexible learning space in each of our PODs. Currently, two of the three pods contain lockers and the third pod area contains some older desktop computers that are rarely used. These spaces will extend/expand classrooms creating opportunities for multiple modalities of learning. Our plan is to leverage our bond funding to move the lockers out of the middle of the space and open some walls using garage doors and or windows. In addition, we plan to alter classrooms to provide more flexible learning spaces, flexible grouping, and co-teaching opportunities using flexible furniture. We will innovate and upgrade our library to create a 21st-century learning environment for digital learning and literacy. We will create a large mixed-use space for teachers to more easily collaborate by turning what is now two spaces into one larger space and changing the furniture this is another place where we hope to use a garage door to open the space into our courtyard. 

Impacting our library is another priority, we hope to open up the library and create a variety of mixed learning and creation spaces that can be used by students.  Some of this will be done by changing the furniture but more can be done by rearranging the space and opening up some of the walls.

Our plan extends beyond the physical changes that will be made to our building.  We intend to create a culture of learning, designing and making.  Teachers will facilitate varied opportunities for students to participate in hands-on learning.  We will utilize some mobile STEM labs and maker carts to bring the experience to each area of our building.

Our environment will facilitate personal, differentiated, learner led instruction. Learners will collaborate to create authentic learning opportunities across disciplines. The environment will be a positive, flexible space to engage a variety of learners to work respectfully, collaboratively, and effectively together to meet a learning objective. Our innovative spaces are intended to create an environment with tools to provoke curiosity through collaborative inquiry and individual learning structures. Teachers will act as a facilitator to guide student-led learning opportunities. 

The environment will provide teacher interaction to collaboratively work with colleagues to formally and informally share ideas to improve teaching and learning. 

Through our innovations, the following will be available:
  • Strong sightlines through learning zones
  • Mobile “maker” spaces
  • Conference and small group spaces for student and teacher collaboration
  • Students are able to self-assess through innovative tools
  • Whiteboard walls
  • Mobile computing and docking stations
  • Zones to accommodate project design process, collaboration, and resources from multiple disciplines
  • Wide array of flexible furnishings to support a variety of tasks including collaborative and individual learning

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

We have involved stakeholders in an Innovation committee that is comprised of primary teachers, intermediate teachers, middle-level teachers, specialists, teacher librarian and our principal. In addition, the DAT committee is comprised of community members, parents, teachers, specialist, librarian, and administration. This team met every other week during the spring of 2017 as a part of the design process.  

To begin the process staff was surveyed for their ideas on how innovation would look and what they would like in MPk-8. Staff will be presented with the proposal for their feedback before any decisions are made. Along with feedback from our staff, we will solicit input from students during the next phases of design and selection of materials and furniture. 

In our work with  Kiffany Lychock, Director of Innovation, we toured several exemplar buildings.  We had a large group of teachers and administrators attend the Innovate conference in June. 

During the spring frequent updates on the process were provided at the School Accountability Committee meetings, the Parent Teacher Organization Meeting and included in our Mustang Messenger.  We will continue to seek parent feedback and input in the upcoming phases of design and material selection. 

Our top objective is to ensure that more than the space is impacted by our decisions so we are carefully planning professional development for teachers and staff about innovative teaching practices and ensuring collaboration time for teachers to carefully plan to meet student needs. 

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

Monarch PK-8 has utilized the BVSD Mission as a mentor text when creating our school mission.  We will continue that work this year as we engage in revisiting our mission statement, drafting our vision statement and clarifying our collective commitments. Our plan supports the success effect by focusing on talent, partnerships, and learning.  We continue to partner with our community and will utilize the funds to enhance the talent of our staff in order to ensure that there is an impact on the learning of all members of the Monarch PK-8 community.  

Our biggest impact will be on the learning in our building.  We will provide extensive professional learning and ongoing support for our teachers in order to ensure that instruction changes in our classrooms.  The utilization of problem-based learning, design thinking, making and the utilization of technology along with instructional strategies that ensure students are interacting and creating will shift the learning of our students.  There will be active engagement in the learning process.

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

Our project closely aligns with the Innovation Guiding Principle number 6, “Learning is Personalized and Learner Led”.  We plan to create a flexible learning space that can meet “a variety of learning modalities,” allow for “active exploration,” and where students will lead their own learning.  Our project also aligns with Innovation Guiding Principle number 4, “Learning is a Social Process”.  Our plan will allow learners to meaningfully engage with one another, provide opportunities for effective collaboration, and allow “students to use the thinking of others to inspire, improve and reflect on their own learning.” 

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

Outcome 1 - Students make connections across larger themes and between disciplines (1e)

Outcome 2 - Students will learn through collaboration-reading, writing, speaking, listening, presenting to create learning. 

Outcome 3 - Staff will collaborate in an open environment to build interdisciplinary components of instruction. The curriculum will be connected between disciplines to support learning in all areas. 

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?

Quantitative - Percentage of time that the space is utilized for social and/or instructional purposes, implementing a climate survey prior to the completion of the project to determine the impact of the new spaces on students’ social and overall climate of the school. Measuring Standards for educator effectiveness. Parent and community surveys. Increase the number of showcase nights to demonstrate the learning from PBL. An increase in transdisciplinary projects conducted through collaboration, technology and digital connectedness with peers.

Qualitative - Anecdotal survey data from teachers to determine the impact on increasing opportunities for collaboration and interdisciplinary connections. Educator Effectiveness data-improved practice related to Teacher Standards 1e, 3d, 4b, 5a.

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

We will engage in professional learning that will empower teachers to operate in professional learning communities.  This learning will take place during 1 -2 staff meetings per month.  Teachers are allocated 60 minutes per week to meet with their collaborative team to prioritize standards, analyze student data and plan for instruction, intervention, and enrichment. These teams will be used to build the culture of innovation and create flexible mindsets.  A large group of our staff attended Project Based Learning training in June 2017.  Last year 8 of our teachers attended monthly training in utilizing Professional Learning Communities to sustain school improvement, this year we will again send a member of each team to monthly training.  The creation of a PLC guiding coalition will guide the work and ensure full implementation of a collaborative model.  

As teams engage in planning we will infuse professional learning about innovative strategies to use with students such as project-based learning, inquiry-based learning, collaborative structures, design thinking, ideation and “making”. Our Instructional Leadership team will facilitate ongoing, embedded learning opportunities for staff.

We will study workspaces in our community and bring the ideas to staff in order to align the designs of our learning spaces more closely with those of workplaces.  In addition to the study of workplaces, we will continue to seek out and tour innovative teaching spaces and schools.