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Academy seeks innovation grant

Cedar River Academy has joined with the Ferndale, Richland, and Griffin school districts as the founding members of the Washington Consortium for Student-Centered Education, to apply for a U.S. Department of Education Innovation Grant. The Investing in Innovation Fund is designed to provide competitive grants to applicants with a record of improving student achievement and attainment.

This project would allow educators to compare the traditional education model with the student-centered model, as each impacts student performance, said Robert Hughes, member of the Washington State Board of Education.

The grant application was filed with the Department of Education on May 11 by the Ferndale School District acting as the lead agency representing the consortium.

If awarded, the grant would give school districts the opportunity to collaborate as they extend and refine active-learning initiatives. The project is designed to allow parents and students to choose between student- centered education and traditional education for their children, without economic or logistic impact.

The project will serve more than 17,000 students and to demonstrate that it is possible to create a replicable active-learning model school that can deliver high graduation rates, produce highly prepared graduates who successfully complete university studies, and operate within existing public school budgets.

Enumclaw’s Cedar River Academy is being transformed into a model school to transfer knowledge and provide the Consortium open communications, Internet-based video observation, teacher and principal training, and project management services. Educators will be encouraged to register to observe classroom activities, access the project’s work products, participate in collaborative forums, visit the model school, compare performance data to their own school environments, talk with design experts, attend model teaching programs and seminars, make recommendations, and suggest model adjustments.

The project is designed to assure every student is presented with the opportunity and support to make continuous progress toward mastery of reading, writing, communications, mathematics, social studies, foreign language, fine arts, music, and physical education standards and goals.

“It is exciting to observe students construct deep knowledge about complex topics that interest them,” said Roger Franklin, Founder of Cedar River Academy.

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