Reimagining Education

MCPSA honors inaugural Innovative Education Award winners


The Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri joins the Missouri Charter Public Schools Association in honoring MCPSA’s first ever Innovative Education Award winners.

The Innovative Education Awards strive to recognize those that are igniting curiosity and building models of education excellence leading to engaged students and increased learning.

Promising Practice Award

The Promising Practice Award was created as a way to honor a teacher or school developing a new or transformational learning model that has not yet been implemented in their school.

This year the award goes to Lift for Life Academy and Shannon Steimel for a program that engages middle school students in Makerspace activities to improve STEM skills such as computational and design thinking.  In addition to building conceptual understanding of STEM curricula, this innovative program also focuses on literacy by combining reading with STEM activities.

Innovation Award

City Garden Montessori School and Christie Huck are the winners of the 2018 Innovation Award.

This award was created to be given to a creative and innovative practice resulting in positive learning outcomes.

City Garden Montessori School has combined two innovative approaches that have resulted in high levels of student engagement and strong academic performance.   By applying the Montessori theory of development in a public-school environment, they engage students by realizing children have different developmental stages and they learn best in multi-age classrooms as well as fostering prepared teachers and a prepared environment to ensure that students remain at the top, or forefront of their work.

City Garden Montessori School also focuses on nurturing an anti-biased, antiracist environment. They strive to be aware that racism and privilege are present in our culture and schools and take a progressive approach to transform education that holistically critiques and responds to discriminatory policies and practices in education.

Inspiration Award

Academy for Integrated Arts and Tricia DeGraff are the 2018 winners of the Inspiration Award, an award that recognizes unique, creative and innovative programs that get students excited about school and enhance learning.

Academy for Integrated Arts implemented a program focused long-term inquiry projects each year driven by students and connected to standards. Tricia DeGraff brought in experts from the community to answer students’ initial questions and to make connections to real life issues. In first grade, a field expert from the Water Department explained the mechanisms for purifying rain water from gutters to the end point of drinking water in their homes. Students also engaged in a community clean-up.

In second grade, a staff member from KC Community Gardens came to demonstrate ways to prepare soil in raised beds for their own school garden. Students also were excited to demonstrate their learning through various art forms, including a student choreographed dance depicting the life cycle of plants.

Please join me in welcoming to the stage the winner of the Inspire Award, Academy for Integrated Arts and Tricia DeGraff.

Show-Me Award

Lift for Life Academy and Kristen Tidwell won the 2018 Show-Me Award for a program focused on addressing the problem of at-risk, low-income students often being left behind in scientific literacy.

Staff at Lift For Life Academy found that many of their students hold the attitude that science is irrelevant or hard and Kristen Tidwell strives to break this stereotype with her students.  She recognizes that for students to be successful in science, the material must be relevant to their lives and presented in a manner that the student can comprehend.

Making learning relevant to students has been key to this Kristen Tidwell’s success in her classroom.  In the 2017-2018 school year, she embraced the Project based Learning approach in her classroom, which emphasizes authentic learning opportunities through real-world connections, student choice and critical thinking skills in the creation of public products of learning. Bringing Science to Life stimulates students’ engagement in sciences and increase their scientific proficiencies.

People’s Choice Award

Scuola Vita Nuova Charter School was the winner of the 2018People’s Choice Award.

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