From Innovation Academy: Connor Nabb, senior; Makaila Kramp, sophomore; Dawn Webster, teacher; Jay McDowell, teacher; and John LaGalo, principal shared about the school’s unique approach to educating the whole student. This approach begins with meeting the students’ needs, such as ensuring that they have access to food, feel safe, feel cared for, and know that they have value. With those needs met, students are ready to learn. To promote learning, Innovation Academy uses student-driven, project-based learning. Additionally, rather than assigning grades, students earn credit for mastering standards that are aligned to Michigan Merit Curriculum standards.
The students and staff were invited to present to the State Board of Education by Dr. Venessa Keesler, Michigan Department of Education, deputy state superintendent division of educator, student, and school supports. Keesler learned about Innovation Academy during a visit to Howell Public Schools late last year.
“It was an honor to share our story with the State Board of Education. Our staff has worked hard to create a learning environment where each student feels valued and has the supports they need to achieve their full potential,” said LaGalo. “Our unique approach allows us to connect on an individual level with each student has proved to be very successful.”
“When we launched Innovation Academy a year-and-a-half ago, we all knew it was something special,” said Erin MacGregor, Howell Public Schools superintendent. “The staff at Innovation Academy has done an outstanding job creating an environment where all students feel safe, valued, and that they can learn.”
Both Nabb and Kramp shared with the State Board of Education how Innovation Academy has made a positive impact on their lives and put them on a path to success. Thanks to Innovation Academy, Kramp is currently taking college courses at Lansing Community College through a dual enrollment program, and Nabb has been accepted to Michigan College of Technology where he will study Airplane Engineering after he graduates from Innovation Academy.
Although Innovation Academy is only in its second year of operation, several other schools have heard of the success that the school has had. Several other districts and educators have visited innovation Academy in the hopes of replicating its success.