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August 14, 2019

Liberty High gets state grant to spur innovation

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The $50,000 grant seeks to develop programs that promote critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, communication and citizenship while preparing students for careers and postsecondary education.
Principal Sam Cox says: “Instead of asking students, ‘What do you want to be?’ we need to be asking, ‘What problem do want to solve or what new things do you want to create?’ ”
Fauquier County Public Schools and Liberty High have received a $50,000 Virginia Department of Education High School Innovation Grant.

The first-year innovation planning grant – awarded to only five school systems in the state — will allow Liberty’s staff to expand their vision of creating opportunities for students as they prepare for life during and after high school.

The grant seeks to develop programs that promote critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, communication and citizenship while preparing students for careers and postsecondary education.

“We are beyond excited to receive the High School Innovation grant as it will provide resources in the evolution of our mindset in reimagining what high school should be for students in the 21st century,” LHS Principal Sam Cox said. “Instead of asking students, ‘What do you want to be?’ we need to be asking, ‘What problem do want to solve or what new things do you want to create?’  We look forward to using the VDOE funds to explore innovative ways to prepare our students for their future.”

The grant will fund new ways of presenting information and using cross-curriculum teaching and interdisciplinary learning to bring real-world examples and experiences to meet individual student learning needs, according to school administrators. The effort will focus on project-based and hands-on learning, along with community partnerships and internships.

“This grant brings an amazing opportunity to our school community and our stakeholders,” county Director of Instruction Amy Acors said. “We understand that our schools need to continue to evolve to better serve our students and foster their passions.

“We are committed to ongoing professional learning for our staff and are excited about engaging our students in more authentic ways,” Dr. Acors added. “We remain grateful to the partnerships we have with our business community and look forward to growing those relationships.”

Three innovations outlined in the winning grant proposal include Empower, LEAP and Serve.

Empower involves offering interdisciplinary courses to consistently provide students with learning opportunities that foster creativity, collaboration, communication, critical thinking and citizenship. The personalized, tailored instruction will allow students to learn at their own pace while pursuing their interests.

With LEAP (Liberty Empowers Aspiring Professionals), students will be immersed in job experiences and will have opportunities to “try out” different professions, giving them a better understanding of what they need to accomplish to meet their goals.

Service will seek to integrate service learning into every classroom.

“This award is a result of a team effort with FCPS administration, Liberty High School leadership and our local business community,” said Stacie Griffin, the school system grant technician. “This program will empower our educators to look at new ways of teaching career and life skills as we better prepare students for the future.”
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Stacie Griffin · August 16, 2019 at 11:42 am
Inspiration for this program came from the documentary "Most Likely To Succeed." This acclaimed film offers an inspiring look at what students and teachers are capable of - if we have the vision and courage to transform our schools.

A free screening of the film will take place this Monday, August 19th at Liberty High School. Not limited to Liberty, this event is open to all schools, students, parents and the community. There will be a special post-film discussion with film creator Ted Dintersmith. Monday, August 19th 4pm at Liberty.


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