Innovation Diploma – A Path Toward Success

Feb 12, 2014 | Uncategorized, Upper School News

Beginning in August of 2014, Mount Vernon’s Upper School students will have the opportunity to not just simply learn about innovation and impact, but to actively become innovators during their Upper School years. With the introduction of the Innovation Diploma, students in grades 9-12 will be offered a chance to engage in ongoing, extended projects, challenging them to design and implement innovations which will positively enhance their local, national, and global communities.
Emily Breite, Upper School Academic Dean and Director of 21st Century Teaching and Learning says, “Conversations with colleges, universities, and employers have shown us again and again that stories of student impact and evidence of creative problem solving are some of the core competencies students will need to be successful in the 21st century, and the Innovation Diploma further opens the doors to students constructing and embracing those sorts of opportunities.”
The Innovation Diploma is being offered to a graduating senior who completes a variety of coursework focused on design thinking skills, problem-based learning, innovative technologies, and passion-finding. To earn the Innovation Diploma, students will experience immersive exploration and empathy, experiment as they design solutions to problems they observe and discover, and launch and implement innovative solutions within an environment of feedback and support. In addition, required travel and internship experience take students to observe and practice with innovators in Atlanta, the Southeast, national innovation hubs in Silicon Valley and New York City, and global centers of innovation over the next several years.
Tony Wagner, Innovation and Education Fellow at Harvard University and author of The Global Achievement Gap says this about the bridge into real life, “High school and college graduates who will get and keep good jobs in the new global economy and contribute solutions to the world’s most pressing problems are those who can bring what the author and New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman calls “a spark of imagination” to whatever they do. They will be creative problem-solvers who will generate improvements in existing products, processes, and services, as well as invent new ones. Rather than worry so much about graduating all students college-ready, I have come to understand that the most essential education challenge today is to graduate all students innovation-ready.”
Core Components of the Innovation Diploma:

  • Cohort of student innovators
  • Accelerator projects
  • Advisement from MVPS and external expert mentors
  • Signature coursework
  • Travel
  • Internships and retreats
  • Who should apply? Student who are:
  • Striving to make an impact in their communities
  • Eager to develop the habits of innovators and implement their own ideas
  • Excited about using empathy to design solutions to problems
  • Interested in innovation in the worlds of technology engineering, and/or social responsibility
  • Details
  • Student Innovation Community fills one elective space per semester and includes Thursday morning cohort meetings
  • Student application due February 21 to Mrs. Breite
  • Program fee of $3,500 per year includes:
    -Fieldwork in Atlanta’s innovation community
    -Annual retreat
    -Interim travel study
    -Personalized advisement and mentorship by Innovation Diploma Director

Contact Emily Breite to learn more about the Innovation Diploma, at [email protected]. Applications will be available late February.