big picture

The Big Picture

The Innovation Diploma (iD) at Mount Vernon Upper School is a unique, four-year educational experience designed to nurture innovative thinkers and problem solvers. This project-based program offers students in grades 9-12 a distinctive blend of core academics integrated with authentic learning focused on real-world challenges. Students collaborate with industry partners, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations on design briefs, developing critical skills in design thinking, communication, empathy, creativity, and project management.

Key Features
  • Application is open to enthusiastic and curious learners in grade 8
  • Emphasizes creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork skills
  • Additional annual fee with financial aid available
  • Prepares students for success in college and beyond, cultivating a mindset for creating impactful solutions.
zooming in

Zooming In

One powerful story representative of Mount Vernon’s Innovation Diploma (iD) program and its impact is the collaboration with a major corporation like The Coca-Cola Company. This project exemplifies the real-world, impact-ready focus of iD, where students engage directly with industry leaders to address genuine business challenges.

The Innovation Diploma (iD) program at Mount Vernon Upper School offers several unique value-adds.

This unique combination of elements ensures that students in the iD program are well-prepared academically and equipped with the skills, mindset, confidence, and experiences needed to thrive in college and beyond.

impact ready


iD stands out for its direct collaboration with industry leaders, providing students with first-hand experience in addressing actual business and community challenges. This enhances learning and gives students a competitive edge in understanding real-world applications of their skills.

Design Brief Examples

The curriculum is centered around hands-on, project-based experiences. This approach fosters critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills as students work on meaningful projects rather than solely focusing on traditional academic coursework.

Emphasis on design thinking and human-centered solutions prepares students to approach problems empathetically and innovatively, ensuring solutions are tailored to meet human needs.

The program nurtures essential skills like collaboration, communication, strategic thinking, project management, and leadership, which are crucial in the modern workplace.

Students receive dedicated support from educators who act as mentors throughout their high school journey, allowing for personalized learning and deeper relationships.

iD encourages students to develop solutions that have a positive social impact, fostering a sense of empathy and responsibility towards societal challenges.

The program allows students to engage in AP courses and extracurricular activities, ensuring a well-rounded educational experience.

Unlike traditional grading systems, iD focuses on growth, mastery, and practical application of skills, aligning more closely with real-world expectations.


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Krista Fancher Director, Innovation Diploma
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Emily Wilcox Associate Director, Innovation Diploma
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Kevin Huitt Humanities Lead, Innovation Diploma
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Meredith Ammons iD Teacher


Innovation Diploma (iD): Prepares for the “Future of…”

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Council on Innovation 2023: Lead from Where You Are

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iD’s 10-Year Milestones: Fortune 500 Design Briefs, New Faculty & Sustained Growth

Mount Vernon’s Innovation Diploma (iD) program, now in its tenth year, continues to evolve, refining its content, workflows, and processes. As we approach the tenth anniversary milestone this January, the current mod boasts an impressive slate of 7 corporate partnerships.... Read More