Innovation Academy

brick school that says "Innovation Academy" grass, trees and people walking outside

About the Innovation Academy

"I am pleased to announce the emergence of an innovation academy for WPSD #1! Components of this academy have been piloted in 5th grade at Bakken Elementary School during the 2018-2019 school year.

The Williston Innovation Academy provides a personalized learning environment for students in grades 5-8. Utilizing digital learning tools and relevant, project based instructional approaches, this academy personalizes education for students by addressing the distinct learning needs, interests, and aspirations of individual students. In this personalized learning environment, the students move from a “one-style-fits-all” approach to student-centered learning.

Personalized learning will allow students to work at their own pace. Students in the academy will have access to 1:1 technology and many supplemental materials to access and augment our curriculum. Opportunities for project-based learning that tie subject-area content to real-world learning opportunities will also exist in this innovation academy.

Students will be eligible to advance grade levels at free will in certain subject areas as opposed to waiting until the following Fall if they exhibit mastery of skills based on our district curriculum.

Pilots of this program will continue in 5th grade and begin in 6th grade for the 2019-2020 school year. The following year, we will expand this pilot to 5th, 6th and 7th grade, until we have students’ grades 5-8 participating. Teachers will be added each year.

2019-2020: 5th and 6th Grade Pilot

2020-2021: 5th, 6th, and 7th Grade

2021-2022: 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade

Learning spaces will consist of flexible seating in larger, collaborative settings or smaller, quiet settings. The innovation academy (daily) will begin and end at the same time as Bakken and WMS. Students will still have lunch and ‘specials’ in accordance with the Bakken and WMS schedules. However, there will be blocks of time built in to allow for self-pacing and project-based learning when applicable. Students will be allowed to work on multiple subjects during these blocks of time. The teachers in many ways will move from being the ‘sage on the stage’ to the ‘guide on the side.’ Peer tutoring, small group instruction, one on one instruction, and tiered interventions will be available for students in the innovation academy."

-Superintendent Dr. Jeff Thake