The West Virginia Board of Education on Thursday revised state policy to allow counties under a declared state of emergency to become School System Collaborative Innovation Zones.
Under Senate Bill 371, passed in March, county systems currently under state board control can participate as Education Innovation Zones. The board has intervened in Gilmer, Lincoln, Preston, Grant, Fayette and Mingo counties for different reasons, including financial, hiring and academic performance issues. McDowell County is under provisional state board control.
The Education Innovation Zones, established by the state Legislature in 2009, encourages pilot projects at schools around the state. The law encourages schools to innovate by allowing certain state laws, rules and policies to be waived. Schools designated as Innovation Zones essentially become learning laboratories with the flexibility to try innovative teaching strategies.
“Innovation zones are allowing our schools to adapt to changing times and embrace new ideas and new teaching strategies,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “Giving our schools greater flexibility allows them to create schools that reflect how children live and learn today and in the future.”
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