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capss' innovation committee

Innovation has always defined our survival as a species.  |  Our ability to adapt – our adaptability — is the sister of innovation.  |  The CAPSS' Innovation Committee is an evolving network of superintendents focused on preparing our students for the challenges of the mid-to-late 21st Century in the context of innovation.
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CAPSS' Innovation Committee Introduces Innovation Wave
September 2019 - Innovation Wave

The beginning of the school year –always so busy. But when isn’t it so busy? Is there ever such a time for us? I have not been able to find it, except for the occasional journeys to a deserted beach. (but then – those carnivorous sharks on the prowl, talk about redistricting!)

I am hopeful the column Innovation Wave can become a destination, a respite of sorts, for finding or encountering information to inspire you, to share with staff and parent groups –or to share with your Board.

innovation wave 9-2019

I wish it could be as grand as the awe-provoking Brain Pickings (Maria Popova). It won’t be, sadly. Like you, I too am always trying to balance the more technocratic aspects of the work with opportunities for thinking about the meaning of our efforts in the context of a world in transformation.

Innovation Wave is meant to be a collective effort. By that I mean, if you would please send me links to interesting articles, podcasts, book reviews, and/or some commentary you would like to share with colleagues about your vision for designing, encouraging and leading the way along the pathway of innovative practices.

In my humble opinion, innovation is about our capacity as humans to adapt. As creatures we adapt to survive, and as moody sentient beings we adapt to find pleasure in our existence. We innovate. We plant gardens, invent musical instruments, systems of writing, and the internet. We harness electricity. We make weapons.

It is said we are already in the 4th Industrial Revolution (I highly recommend we all give a listen to presidential candidate, Andrew Yang, on this, whether or not you are interested in voting for him.) Although we often hear (or are told) that our public schools look just like they did in the 19th Century, I don’t buy it.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution, finally, will change not only what we do but also who we
are. It will affect our identity and all the issues associated with it: our sense of privacy, our
notions of ownership, our consumption patterns, the time we devote to work and leisure, and how we develop our careers, cultivate our skills, meet people, and nurture relationships.”
Klaus Schwab, The Fourth Industrial Revolution

innovation wave 9-2019 chart


The Fourth Industrial Revolution

We have all been a part of substantial changes and innovations in the designs we use to organize and deliver instruction, how we measure learning growth, and how we incorporate true student voice and choice into the work. And then there is the use of ever-evolving tools.

No, we aren’t locked into the 19th Century and Horace Mann would be disoriented if he did a walk-through in one our many schools. But, in 2019, we may be confined somewhat by 20th Century models. We are in transition. Our practices and tools – even our mission. As David N. Perkins (Harvard Graduate School of Education) writes in Future Wise – Educating Our Children for a Changing World (2014) we must consider the “return-on-learning” (ROL) when designing our offerings for students.

That is what Innovation Wave is for. It is a space where we can share and propose our respective visions of what innovation and adaptability mean to us as school district leaders on our small planet that is getting warmer and more crowded.

While I am generally peace-oriented fellow, like all of you I like to read outside of our professional journals.

The new Marine Corps Commandant, Gen. David Berger, issued an updated Commandant’s Planning Guidance (July 2019). He writes: “ We cannot afford to retain outdated policies, doctrine, organizations or force development strategies.”

Sound familiar?

He is planning to lead his forces to adapt to the new challenges, threats and opportunities his forces may confront.

So it is with educators. Our job as leaders charged with preparing our youth for the future requires us to co-create the future with our colleagues, our staffs, our students and communities. We need to encourage much of the state’s political leadership take their eyes off of the rearview mirror.

Resources for your consideration:

On Linkedin? Check this out

Thinking about strategies for weaving technology into more personalized learning approaches and aligning your work to their well-thought-out standards? iNacol is tremendous!

Thinking about innovation in light of social fragmentation? Check this out Or, check this out

Do we need better, more intentional and meaningful multigenerational interaction? (better the occasional chorus visiting a senior center) Check out

Innovation Wave

CAPSS is committed to ongoing efforts to share ideas regarding current effective education practices in Connecticut and around the world with the membership. The Innovation Committee will offer a regular mini-column highlighting links to interesting articles and reviews, as well as podcasts related to expansive concepts of innovation in our work.

Although it has become cliché to proclaim the accelerating pace of change will transform every aspect of human existence –it doesn’t mean it is not true.

As leaders in our field, we are so often bogged down in negotiations, problem resolution and politics of all sorts that we often have little time to explore. Innovation Wave will offer thought-provoking links to ideas and practices both in education and from outside.

Innovation Wave will be linked to our website, but will also be pushed out to you via this small column in our Leader's Report.

Please send me news of activities in your district that you would be open to having colleagues visit. An aspect of our redesigning of the education experiences of our students is to redesign the partnerships among our group.

Check out these links:

NOVA: The Design Process: From Idea to Solution | PBS Learning Media

Fast Company

Stanford Innovation Lab with Tina Seelig | Apple Podcasts

There are two key underpinnings to Innovation Wave.

1.    No one is the expert on all things ‘innovative’.
2.    We need to share our successes, our failures to launch, and our works in progress.

We can do this! Other states are committed to adapting public education to the transformations underway. We cannot afford to be the ‘land of steady habits’.

The leadership network of CAPSS can be leaders of innovation.


Chris Clouet
Innovation Committee Chair


Invitation to CT Districts banner ad

Based on the work of HundrED, the CAPSS Innovation Committee is pleased to invite every Connecticut school district to share one PK-12 innovative educational idea/practice. The goal is to help improve Connecticut education by establishing a platform to share innovative school practices. We hope that every district will participate!

Innovation Criteria

Your district’s educational innovation idea/practice should adhere to the following:

  1. Innovativeness:  The idea should provide a valuable improvement to education.
  2. Impactful:  The idea must have been established for at least one year with demonstrable evidence.
  3. Scalability:  The idea should be able to work in other school districts and you should be willing to serve as a resource regarding implementation.

Submit your innovative idea/practice online. The form is very short and easy to complete, and we've included a link below:

PK-12 Innovative Educational Idea/Practice Form
Essentially, you upload a photo of the innovation, a short description, contact information for the innovational idea, and any resources that may help other districts learn about and/or help them with implementation.

The on-line submission form may be saved as a draft and completed at a later date by clicking on the Save For Later button at the bottom of the form. If you decide to complete the form in more than one sitting, you will be prompted to supply district contact information and an email address. You will be sent a link to re-access the form.

Here is where your innovative practices will appear.

Questions about your submittal or the form may be directed to Paulien Rorick, (860) 236-8640 x170.