Innovation in Public Schools is Key to Colorado’s Future

Embracing innovation and taking calculated risks are two core values that successful companies encourage every day.Whether they are in Tokyo, Silicon Valley, London, Bangalore or Denver, companies that embrace the unknown and challenge conventional wisdom position themselves for a greatness traditional companies that play it safe will never experience.

We are fortunate to live in a state whose citizens embody this philosophy. Whether it is established financial services firms who see opportunity in the state’s highly educated workforce or entrepreneurs seeking high-quality partners to help them achieve their vision, Colorado has a spirit of innovation and opportunity that fosters a positive business environment.

However, one thing our state is also known for is importing skilled talent rather than developing our own. Can you imagine the advantage our state would have if our schools could embrace the same levels of creativity, adaptability and change found in our business community?

We know schools must often make the most of limited resources, and that innovative educators in our schools are often boxed in – lacking the opportunity, capacity or support to unleash their creativity and spur students to embrace entrepreneurialism. We owe it to our students and ourselves to support the educators who are pursuing ground-up innovations and driving positive change in our schools.

As an executive and the mother of two children attending public schools in metro Denver, I have seen first-hand how boundary-pushing teaching can positively impact a student’s life. And, despite obstacles, there are countless examples of Colorado educators innovating and incorporating new ideas into their practice, providing students with meaningful and unique experiences.

The Salida School District is a great example – students work alongside businesses to build affordable housing for teachers, all while gaining relevant experience in building trades. In Adams 12 Five Star Schools, the district works with local businesses, universities and community partners to identify real-world problems. They then task students – even some of their youngest learners – with finding and presenting viable solutions.

This piece originally appeared in the Denver Business Journal. Read the full piece here.

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