Innovative School Calendar
Imagine a school where students have an extended academic year filled with interactive learning, enrichment and social-emotional growth. And that is what the MCPS Innovative Schools initiative is all about. Starting in the 2019-20 school year, two elementary schools, Roscoe Nix and Arcola, will become Innovative Schools. For these students, their first day will start 30 days earlier than most. Their academic year will begin after July 4th, continue for 6 weeks into mid-August and then resume in September. This early start reduces summer learning loss and gives students a jump-start on their school year, as they explore new concepts and connect with signature programs like Project Lead the Way.
The innovative school calendar follows a similar structure as the traditional school year calendar. There will still be 4 academic quarters or marking periods, only slightly longer. Holidays and most other closings are the same, with slight differences for early release days, parent conferences and the Last Day of School.
Project Lead the Way offers hands-on activities with computers, engineering and science. Students work in teams to collaborate and develop problem-solving skills. Students become the scientists. They become the engineers! Equipped with new insights and tools, teachers and staff will enhance instruction with high-quality enrichment opportunities in the arts and in all core content areas.
Another tenant of Innovative Schools is to connect learning with the real world. Field trips, community service and other collaborative projects will let students explore their communities, both big and small.
Another Signature Program is Mindfulness. Mindfulness is about paying attention to what is happening in the present moment. It helps students self-regulate their emotions and foster an attitude of curiosity, openness and acceptance. Mindfulness improves our social-emotional well-being. Breathing exercises are used to reflect, relax and re-focus, so that students are ready to learn and reach their full potential.
Both schools will continue to implement MCPS Curriculum 2.0 alongside the signature programs. Beginning in 2020-2021, both schools will begin implementing Eureka math as a part of the curriculum implementation. Staff at both schools have been provided with a scope and sequence aligned to the extension of the four marking periods. This scope and sequence supports the implementation of Curriculum 2.0 with the signature programs.
As education continues to evolve, Innovative Schools is a thoughtful way to alter our approach to learning - - giving us more time to try new and innovative things.
Watch the Board of Education Presentation from March 12, 2019
Presentation Slides from March 12
Presentation Memorandum from March 12
Innovative School Program Video in English
Innovative School Program Video in Spanish