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Schools receive innovation zone grants

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Innovative ideas and approaches to learning have earned county education systems and schools some extra cash. On Nov. 13, the West Virginia Board of Education approved the list of Regular Innovation Zones and Dropout Prevention Innovation Zones for the 2013-2014 school year.

"Innovation Zones are allowing our schools to adapt to changing times and embrace new ideas and new teaching strategies. They also give our schools greater flexibility and allow them to create learning facilities that reflect how children live and learn today and in the future," said Gayle Manchin, WVBE president.

Each county or school has an Innovation Zone Plan tailored to its specific needs.

Cabell County Schools and the June Harless School for Rural Education: $300,000

Grant money is expected to be used to provide resources to engage students, teachers, community members and parents of Geneva Kent and Peyton Elementary in the Expeditionary Learning model. This grant will accelerate the full implementation of Expeditionary Learning practices in the consolidated incubator school which will open in 2015.

Cabell County Schools and the June Harless School of Rural Education: $292,494

Grant money is expected to be used to expand the Reggio Emilia PreK Model in the Cabell County School System. The incubator school will be opening in 2015. The grant will support two existing PreK sites and allow for an additional four sites including the new incubator school to continue their work in transitioning students from PreK.

Barbour County - Phillip Barbour High School: $300,000

Grant money is expected to be used to help expand the New Tech High School program in Phillip Barbour High School.   Currently, West Virginia has two existing New Tech High Schools, Buffalo High School in Putnam County and Phillip Barbour which were established through the 2012 Dropout Innovation Zone grants.

McDowell County Career and Technical Center: $46,500

Grant money is expected to be used to fund an exploratory program designed to generate interest through an innovative, hands-on mentoring experiences for middle school students in order to prepare and enhance the transition from middle to high school.

Kanawha County Schools - Mary C. Snow, Stonewall Jackson, Capital High School: $300,000

Grant money is expected to allow the implementation of a comprehensive Community Schools Model and a continuation of services for students and the communities served through these three schools. 

Mercer County Schools - Bluefield High, Middle and Intermediate Schools:  $219,499

Grant money is expected to enable Mercer County to continue its 9th Grade Academy and focus on tutoring and interventions in collaboration with Bluefield State.  College of education students will provide tutoring and summer academies for at-risk students at all three schools.

The applications for the grant were reviewed by the Innovation Zone Selection Committee in October.