Innovation in Fulton County Schools
In Fall 2021, Innovation Academy will be the newest magnet school option for Fulton families.
Fulton County Schools is a leader in creative approaches to public education, offering a wide array of charter schools, magnets, academic programming, career and technical pathways and enrichment opportunities. Innovation Academy is the latest step in FCS’s ongoing efforts to ensure all students learn to their full potential.
The IA Approach
Innovation Academy (IA) is a magnet school that will use cutting edge instructional approaches to deliver FCS curriculum enhanced through a partnership with Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC). The design thinking experience of study and rigorous, STEM focused curriculum will result in student mastery of educational and industry standards. Learning will be demonstrated through projects, portfolios, certifications, business mentorships as well as student created applications and products.
Innovation Academy will be located in downtown Alpharetta on the property that housed the old Milton High School. It will serve grades 9-12 and will open Fall 2021 with a 9th and 10th grade class of up to 450 students each. Innovation Academy will add a grade each year and eventually serve approximately 1,600 high school students at full capacity.
The future South STEM school will be located in Fairburn. It will also open in Fall 2021.
The IA Student
The ideal IA student enjoys hands on problem solving, wants to develop the skills to manage his/her own time, is excited to take ownership of learning, and thrives in a collaborative, dynamic environment that challenges people to work together to accomplish goals.
Teaching at IA
Just as the IA experience is designed for a unique student, the IA experience will develop unique teachers as well. Teachers at IA will serve as mentors and facilitators of learning. They will be skilled in individualized instruction, student empowerment and resourceful problem solving. Through an inter-disciplinary and project-based curriculum, these learning experts will also have the skills necessary to work with corporate partners who will be actively contributing to the learning environment. Finally, students themselves will share in the co-planning of learning. Through self-directed instruction, activities with groups of other students and authentic work on real world industry or community problems, IA students will lead their own learning.
Curriculum and Instruction
IA’s innovative educational approach is aimed at transforming how students learn. The school will take academic concepts and teach them through real-world experiences and hands-on problem solving. IA will harness curiosity and involve students in a series of richly engaging projects that ask them to solve authentic problems via design thinking skills. Students will work in teams in a nurturing environment with support from a robust advisory program and will become future leaders solving the community’s most pressing challenges, filling the skills gap, and boldly making an impact.
With the support and leadership of industry and higher education partners, IA students will bridge the growing divergence between the available supply and existing demand of talent in the North Fulton community. To support these workforce needs and build concrete skills in our graduates, students at Innovation Academy will complete a certification in one of three CTE pathways: Engineering, Healthcare or Information Technology.
The Innovation Academy curriculum will prepare students to succeed in a knowledge economy that emphasizes critical thinking, collaborative leadership, and interdisciplinary problem solving. FCS instructional experts are working closely with Georgia Tech to create a curriculum that will:
- Emphasize design thinking and use authentic projects to link learning across disciplines.
- Provide access to AP coursework to all students that will be tightly integrated into the interdisciplinary projects.
- Build mastery in either Spanish or Coding as language pathways.
- Personalize instruction through self-guided enrichment and reinforcement instruction through a blended learning model.
- Support students with an advisory group leader and 1:1 mentoring and advisement.
The interior of IA’s campus will inspire innovation and creativity by putting student work on display as a visible sign of how curiosity and engagement become a learning outcome. Common areas will have height, light, and exposed mechanical systems – all meant to catalyze learning, interaction, and design thinking processes.
As a part of services associated with magnet schools, FCS will provide transportation to Innovation Academy.
Students living in the attendance zone for the following high schools will be provided transportation to IA North:
Alpharetta HS, Cambridge HS, Centennial HS, Chattahoochee HS, Johns Creek HS, Milton HS, North Springs HS, Northview HS, Riverwood HS, Roswell HS.
Student Support and Enrichment
Every staff member will be a mentor who leads a cohort of students throughout their high school career. This will be the basis of a robust advisory program that nurtures students as they learn to support each other in a kind and empathetic manner. To foster a growth mindset, students will be empowered to take responsibility for their own learning – tackling the challenges most interesting to them. Students are encouraged to take risks, make and learn from mistakes, build each other up, and succeed through a process of continued inquiry and learning.
Special Education and English Learners
As an interest-based FCS magnet, Innovation Academy does not have exclusive admission criteria. As with all FCS schools, the district will provide all state- and federally-mandated services including the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
- IA students will have opportunities to participate in intramural sports allowing access to competitive athletics while still building a sense of community. Students will NOT be allowed to participate in GHSA sports at their home school.
- Music and arts will be additional elements of a well-rounded educational experience that engages students in the learning community and drives a focus on the collective experience at the school site.
- Spanish will be offered face to face and via Fulton Virtual Schools.
- Coding will be offered as face-to-face pathway on campus.
- Other options are available through Georgia or Fulton Virtual Schools.
Innovation Academy will partner with corporations to build a school culture that prepares students to succeed in the modern workplace. The school is seeking a new kind of partnership with businesses that are willing to explore a deeper level of relationship with schools and build shared prosperity as a wider community. IA hopes that this kind of partnership will expand the qualified workforce to help meet Georgia’s employment needs for many STEM careers.
- Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) power the state’s economy and advance society. IA will seek to ensure that future leaders have the skills required to tackle the problems of tomorrow.
- Design thinking builds a replicable set of problem-solving skills that explicitly develop student agency and other “soft skills” that business partners highly value.
- IA will prepare students to work in teams to solve real problems for partners through a program that will meet or exceed the rigor of Advanced Placement (AP) or college preparatory coursework.
IA partners will work with instructional experts to provide:
- Authentic Learning Experiences such as providing case studies and industry authentic projects; mentorship and feedback for student teams; and Internship/Externship/Workplace exposure.
- Professional Learning such as providing professional development activities for teachers; industry certifications for teachers.
- Resource Support such as providing equipment and resources for student projects; providing means for putting innovation, student learning, and partnership products on display; financial Sponsorships of School, Student Pathways, and/or Learning Labs.