Bronxville Union Free School District

Bronxville School Educators Collaborate to Define Innovation

Bronxville School curriculum leaders and teachers from across the district have been collaborating to define what innovation – one of the four dispositions of the Bronxville Promise – looks like at each grade level. They’re also working to develop the underlying understandings and skills necessary to develop all students as innovators.

As part of their work, the educators have designed performance tasks to teach the skills and have created curriculum-embedded performance assessments, which will help measure students’ innovation skills in developmentally appropriate ways. Throughout the year, they will continue to collect formative feedback about the students’ innovation work before revising and finalizing their definition.

“It has been a riveting discussion thus far,” Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Mara Koetke said. “We have drafted the definition of innovation as recognizing the opportunity for improvement and taking risks to create solutions that add value or serve a need.”

Throughout the district, students are involved in the design thinking process, which challenges them to brainstorm, imagine and incubate new ideas, as well as learn how to plan, design, create and test prototype solutions. At the high school, students are partnering with a business or organization which seeks to expand their brand and applying their coding skills and knowledge to create an app. At the elementary school, a group of second-graders is working on a task that challenges them to re-design classroom chairs.

“We’re giving our students opportunities in both low-tech and high-tech ways to explore design thinking,” Dr. Koetke said. “If we want our students to be innovators, we need to provide them with opportunities to explore real-world problems and identify potential solutions.”

As part of the ongoing work, students are also exploring and identifying innovators and discussing stories of failures and successes to make connections to their own experiences. Educators believe that it will encourage students to persevere through obstacles, see failure as a learning opportunity, generate new ideas and identify new ways to solve problems.

Throughout the year, administrators and teachers will continue to discuss how they can provide students with new opportunities and creative learning spaces where they can delve more deeply into content-creation and prototyping.

  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image