Innovation Academy is a group of intellectually curious Freshmen who will be collaborating throughout their four years at Lake View. Membership in the Innovation Academy gives students authentic STEM experiences, academic, and career opportunities. "Not all students need to be "gung-ho" about computer science, it's all about the intellectual curiosity. So what we want to do is to expose them to all four elements of STEM." says Tyrese Graham, the Assistant Principal & STEM Director at Lake View High School.
The cohort meets approximately once a month. During which time they are engaging in the Critical Thinking Cycle: Define a problem, identify needs, brainstorm solutions, test solutions, evaluate and share results, and finally improve on the solution to start the process over again.
WE, a service learning organization, is another partnership that helps our innovators work with one another and the world outside the school walls. Like the Oscars of community service, students have to earn their invitations in order to participate in the WE community event. Students have to do one local project and one international project.
Students have the freedom to choose their project, as long as it is STEM-related. It could be expanding access to STEM courses by developing a marketing proposal for implementation at Lake View High School. This is an example of a local project. It is STEM focused and they would be designing the entire campaign to get more students eligible to take these courses.
Innovation Academy also has scheduled visits to witness how these processes are applied in everyday life. They will visit leading institutions of higher learning and corporations that exemplify the problem-solving mindset. For example, they plan to visit Northwestern's School of Engineering. Here, students will be exploring biotechnology because that is a great way for them to see the implementation of the science, engineering, and technology.
The Innovators are going to collaborate with each other while also mentoring the next years' cohorts.The value added is that they learn to trust one another and play off one another. The goal is for them to become peers within the school; to become the ambassadors of STEM at Lake View.