Address Real-World Problems
IA students interact with our community learning about actual problems our partners are facing. For example, Fulton County Water Works is working with our freshman on Flex Fridays to talk about how our natural and artificial water systems work. Students are sampling the ponds on our property to determine if the pond system is healthy. If it’s not, they need to come up with solutions to improve the water health.
Problem-Solving Methods – Design Thinking
Design Thinking is a method that uses a cyclical process to solve problems with the user in mind. DT uses a series of steps that create specific work in each phase.
Cross-Curricular Projects and Activities
Students work on real-world challenges like delivering medical supplies to areas where first responders cannot reach. Health Sciences experts determine what needs to be included in the first response kit. Engineers work on the specs needed for the box of supplies that are delivered via drone, and information technology specialists program the drones.
Work in Teams
Students are encouraged to cooperate in teams to complete projects. Senior S. Washington explains: “We work on teams especially in my pathway classes. I’ve learned a lot about myself and how to work with different minds. I’m much more open and accepting to other people’s ideas now.”
Research is a big focus for our students. Every student takes an IA Research course their junior year where they are encouraged to collaborate in teams to complete their Pinnacle Project. In addition, students can choose to pursue the AP Capstone diploma which starts with 10th graders taking AP Seminar as their 10th grade ELA class. AP Seminar is followed by IA Research in 11th, and AP Research in 12th.
Pursue a STEM Pathway
Our freshmen start by taking the introductory class in each of the three STEM pathways Innovation Academy offers - Health Sciences, Engineering, and Information Technology. This is a two-period class that we call GT block. Students earn credit for each of the three classes. They then choose which pathway they will complete while at IA. Many students choose to minor or double major in more than one pathway. Taking the GT block makes this possible.
Community and Business Partnerships
During Flex Fridays, our students participate in learning events supported by our community partners like Rocket Day (sponsored by Lockheed Martin) during which students built and launched hundreds of rockets, Raspberry Pi Day and Hackathon where students focused all day on personally designed software projects, and mass casualty training sponsored by a local hospital.