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Representatives from the Carroll County School District attended a Feb. 8 news conference in Frankfort where -University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto announced that the National Center for Innovation in Education is being established at the UK College of Education.
The center has funding from two of the country’s leading foundations — the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
The annoucement was made during the Next Generation Leadership Academy, an output of the UK College of Education’s Kentucky P20 Innovation Lab. Carroll County Schools are part of this intensive year-long partnership during which schools work with UK College of Education faculty to discover new ways to educate students growing up with knowledge, technology, and economies much different from those of previous generations.
“In many ways, the methods in which students are educated in this country have not changed since the 1850s,” Lisa James, superintendent of the Carroll County School District, said. “The P20 Innovation Lab encourages educators to take a fresh look at teaching and learning, using new tools that are now available to us.”
The National Center for Innovation in Education will be directed by Gene Wilhoit, a former Kentucky Department of Education commissioner and a highly regarded figure in national education circles. Wilhoit most recently spent six years as director of the Council of Chief State School Officers in Washington, D.C. During his tenure at CCSSO, Wilhoit spearheaded the development and adoption by 45 states of the Common Core State Standards.
“Networking with innovative partners from all over the state, as well as our partners from University of Kentucky has been the best part of P20,” Gerda Wise, principal of Kathryn Winn Primary, said. “We get to learn and grow from the most innovative people in the state of Kentucky.”
Doug Oak, principal of Cartmell Elementary School, also spoke highly of the P20 Innovation Lab and said that some initiatives, such as “Early College,” in which high school students will be able to take 12 hours of dual-credit college courses per year, grew out of the P20 process.
“The P20 trainings challenge educators to take issues we are facing today and to look for creative ways to address them,” Oak said. “It has taught us to look beyond the traditional constraints of brick and mortar.”
Pam Williams, elementary instructional supervisor for the Carroll County School District, pointed out that meeting the needs of students today requires different ways of thinking and different contexts for learning.
“To count in gigabytes is normal for kids today,” said Williams. “That’s a very different context for today’s learners. Our challenge is to help students develop a compassionate, purposeful life, prepared for anything.”
To read more about the National Center for Innovation in Education, go to http://uknow.uky.edu/content/foundations-fund-national-education-reform-....
Jeff Fremin is director of public relations for Carroll County Public Schools.