Innovation accelerating at WJES

Among the West Jackson Elementary School staff most excited about the innovation accelerator grant are, from left, Kathy Venable, STEAM teacher; John Canupp, Assistant Principal; Benjamin Propes, STEAM Coordinator; Lori King, Instructional Coach; Amy Tinnell, Gifted Resource Teacher; Dr. Karen Rodenroth, Assistant Principal; and Dr. Amity Hardegree, Principal.

Among the West Jackson Elementary School staff most excited about the innovation accelerator grant are, from left, Kathy Venable, STEAM teacher; John Canupp, Assistant Principal; Benjamin Propes, STEAM Coordinator; Lori King, Instructional Coach; Amy Tinnell, Gifted Resource Teacher; Dr. Karen Rodenroth, Assistant Principal; and Dr. Amity Hardegree, Principal.

West Jackson Elementary School has earned a $10,000 grant as a participant for the Fiscal Year 2018 Innovation Fund Accelerator through the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement.

“We are excited for this opportunity,” said Dr. Amity Hardegree, WJES principal. “It will provide support for our team as we strategically design and implement innovative instructional practices, innovative programs, and innovative partnerships with a focus on STEAM.

“This work helps us remove the achievement ceiling and encourage and support all of our students to AIM (accelerate, innovate, motivate) higher as they explore their unique gifts and passions and apply their learning in real world contexts,” she said.

Through the $10,000 planning grant, GOSA supports school districts, traditional public schools, charter schools and Regional Educational Service Agencies in planning, implementing, and scaling radically innovative education programs.

West Jackson Elementary has received funding under the priority area: Applied Learning with a Focus on STEAM Education.

Read and hear all about it! Click here for Alexia Ridley’s report of the grant on the University of Georgia National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate WUGA.

The Innovation Fund began as a $19.4 million fund created under Georgia’s Race to the Top (RT3) plan, according to information from GOSA. To continue the Innovation Fund’s work beyond RT3, Governor Deal appropriated state funding in Fiscal Years (FY) 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Since its inception, the Innovation Fund has invested more than $33 million of state and federal funding through 178 grants to school districts, charter schools, postsecondary institutions and nonprofit organizations.

WJES is one of 10 schools in the Jackson County School System, which serves 7,700 students from Pre-K through 12th grade.

For more information, visit www.JacksonSchoolsGA.org or search for Jackson County School System on Facebook and Twitter.