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Innovation Teams 2023-2024

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

Innovation Teams or I-Teams are special Communities of Practice that organize around topics of common interest and design their own exploration/projects to support authentic learning and leadership. Share the work of your team and find support in a network of likeminded educators – so many possibilities for creativity and collaboration!


Communities of Practice of Authentic Learning and Leadership

A Great Way to Collaborate and Innovate! Join now!

As an outgrowth of the Summer Institute 2022, we launched Innovation Teams (I-Teams) – groups of colleagues who share a concern or passion for something and want to pursue it further. The pilot year was a great success, so we are going to run them again!

a virtual call

Several successful I-Teams from last year will be continuing in 2023-2024. Here are a few examples:

  • Keeping it Real—Authentic Learning and Engagement in the Classroom (service-learning, PBL, etc.)

  • Get Out, Go Learn!—Thinking and Learning “Outside the Box/Classroom”

  • Surprise and Delight—Strategies for sparking curiosity, wonder, energy, and engagement

  • Leading for Innovation—Strategies for building support and facilitating innovation at the school/district level

  • Can We Hear Them?—Strategies for enhancing and responding to student voice Other I-Teams will be announced soon, and we hope many new ones will be formed by educators like you!

CEU and graduate credit options will be available.

You can even design your own credit experience!

You think you might be interested?

Feel free to share this information with other interested colleagues. We’re also open to ideas for new I-Teams that can begin at any time. Contact Ellen Erlanger,

I-Teams are open to all, regardless of whether you attended the Summer Institute or not. Contact hours will be available to I-Team participants.

I-Teams may be a good fit when:

You have a project in motion, but the input of others and a loose schedule would help with your progress, You wish to imagine and build a cross-district project/initiative that brings awareness to an educational topic, You have an idea for your classroom or school community, but you just need that extra something or other interested people to get the idea moving forward, You want to exchange ideas and resources with other practitioners of service-learning, PBL, design thinking, deeper learning, and/or other authentic instructional strategies, and/or You want to meet other teachers or leaders with similar interests to build your network of colleagues!

a group of women with their hands in

The Stages of an I-Team’s Work:

  • Investigationidentifying areas of focus; building participant engagement . Beginning at the Summer Institute, we’ll encourage teams to form around a variety of topics related to authentic learning and leadership. You can help organize/convene a team, or you can join one organized by others. Survey data and post-Institute Zoom meetings will help us identify potential areas of interest, and we’ll keep everyone posted on emerging topics.

  • Planning/Preparationproviding a framework for implementation; helping teams get started In early October, we will provide a recommended timeline, sample tasks/projects, suggested resources, and other assistance to help Innovation Teams get rolling. However, we promise that groups will be participant-driven and can make modifications in the structure to better meet their own needs. During this phase, each team will explore what they want to learn and accomplish together, what practices they might pilot and share, what “success” would look like, and what support they may need.

  • Actionenhancing school programs and professional practice Throughout the school year, each team will collaboratively move its work forward through activities like design thinking, problem solving, sharing information, discussing developments, designing and documenting pilot projects/practices, and/or conducting site visits. Members will meet periodically (online or in person) to build relationships and reflect on progress. Tell us about your progress and/or reach out for support at

  • Reflectionattaching meaning to professional experiences; sharing perspectives with others We will schedule periodic Zoom check-ins for team leaders and interested others. This will be a chance to share interim progress and “next steps” across teams and topics. We will also create space on our website for I-Teams to share artifacts, observations, and insights throughout the year.

  • Demonstration/Celebrationmaking learning visible; sharing results and impact In the spring, we’ll invite teams to a culminating session focusing on significant highlights and “lessons learned” (a sharing protocol will be provided later). This will be a great opportunity for I-Teams to learn from and support each other – a process that we hope will continue at the next Summer Institute and beyond!


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