Renton Innovation Zone inspired by West Hill Now! initiative
Through Renton Innovation Zone, schools are empowered to create new pathways for student success
Teachers and staff are committed to the education and well-being of their students. Now, they have added weight behind those actions through Renton Schools District’s Renton Innovation Zone initiative. Renton Innovation Zone (RIZ) improvement strategies support educators in increasing student engagement, designing instruction that is based on conceptual understanding, and building classroom and school communities that support all learners in meeting standard.
To assist in being a catalyst for change, Renton School District has committed through Renton Innovation Zone to do more, now, to dramatically improve the quality of education in schools, and thus the outlook and hope for a better future for children. RIZ provides schools with the freedom to create school-centered action plans and timelines that drive work to strengthen instruction and teacher collaboration, dramatically increase student achievement, and improve school culture. Prior to the start of the school year, staff from RIZ elementary schools collaborated to develop individual school plans and strategies. With assurance from the district that schools will be provided their own operational flexibility, the groups develop plans that will pursue achievement outcomes to enable success for all children. Data on how well students learned the material with the new teaching strategies is used by teaching teams to improve teaching in real-time for every grade.
The district works with each school to evaluate the specific needs of their students and teachers and create action plans that will address long-term improvement in standardized test scores, student comprehension and building teacher support teams. Each school must address a set of core principles designed by the school district and the schools in order to receive money to fund their proposals. Some of the requests made by schools will not require additional funding: but the district is committed to provide funds to implement approved innovation plans. Some of the supports requested by school staff and funded by the district include: additional summer training, substitutes so teachers can participate in embedded professional learning during the school day, training to support Social Emotional Learning, full-time counselors, full-time Interventionist, health clinic aides, and more.
Renton Innovation Zone strategy is an outcome based on the highly-successful Lakeridge Elementary School model as teachers and staff look for ways to have more teacher training and collaboration time to learn better ways to reach students and impact success.
Former Lakeridge Elementary Principal Jessica Calabrese Granger, who now serves as the district’s Chief of School Improvement, leads the work.