“Innovation” is one of the bywords used to describe Owensboro Public Schools, and Superintendent Nick Brake said the district is honored to be recognized recently by two national organizations for its inventiveness.
The Successful Practices Network and the American Association of School Administrators has named OPS as one of 25 national examples of Innovation Practice, according to press release sent by the district.
As one of the 25, the district will collaborate with SPN and will host representatives from the network for visits to schools this week, Brake said.
“They come and evaluate things (the district) is doing well and the things that are replicable in other parts of the country,” he said.
Representatives will spend time observing the Owensboro Innovation Academy, the stand-alone high school that opened in 2015 for students from OPS, Daviess County Public Schools and Hancock County Schools.
The school is a part of the New Tech Network, an 18-year-old network based in Napa, California, with 190 schools in 27 states and Australia. It was the first in the commonwealth to be selected as part of the system.
The SPN representatives will also be observing other examples of innovation in the district.
For example, they’ll visit Owensboro High School’s Bluegrass Scholars Program that’s in its second year and is open to seniors who have already met their benchmarks for college and career readiness. It enables them to have a unique and personalized senior year.
Monica Rice, the college and career readiness counselor and the director of the program, has said that students are afforded the opportunity to combine creativity, action and civic engagement through seminar classes. They also do what she called experiential learning — going out into the community and taking on various projects and learning goals.
Essentially, Brake said, this will be a way for other districts looking into innovative practices to pick and choose things to incorporate in their plans. The findings of the SPN site visits will be presented in February during the AASA national conference in Nashville.
“It’s a great thing to be included in such a thing,” Brake said. “We want to continue to pursue innovation in our district, while at the same time reinforcing the fact we have had a lot of district success.”