Weekly Feature

2018-09-12 / Editorial

Innovation Contest a chance to change the future

Bee Editorial

The Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District has announced that proposals are being accepted for its first Innovation Contest, which can be submitted by any member of the school district community, including parents, teachers, staff, students, residents, alumni and business owners.

Those community members should consider this a rare opportunity to put their stamp on the long-term improvement of the district, which said in June that it is looking to collaborate with others to implement a new idea.

Boards of education often seek input from stakeholders at regular meetings and through groups such as parent teacher student associations, but it’s not common for boards to seek proposals from the public and say that they intend to build one of those proposals into the district’s budget cycle.

Ken-Ton’s board members have shown that they are serious by recently setting a deadline for submission of abstract descriptions of potential programs.

Members of the community should get involved in that process, because a school district, similar to a democracy, works best when its stakeholders take an active role in the betterment of the whole.

The School Board’s vice president, Andrew Gianni, who proposed holding the Innovation Contest, expressed a desire in June to be inclusive, as well as a faith in the intelligence of the Ken-Ton community, both inside and outside the walls of schools. He also argued that some constructive ideas do not surface until such a contest is held.

That was the case with a contest that took place in the University at Buffalo’s IT Department, in which teams thought about how they could make things work better for universities in terms of technology. Gianni drew inspiration from that competition to create the Innovation Contest. Having set a deadline of Oct. 1 for submission of abstract descriptions of programs, and with selected programs due to be presented to a panel on Nov. 1, it’s clear the district is serious in its intentions.

Community members should show they are serious and develop detailed ideas to submit.

Submissions may propose any new program or approach to addressing the needs of students as long as it is not specific to one individual school and that it aligns with one of the three goals of the district’s strategic plan: Ken-Ton Forward. Those goals include focus on technology, social emotional wellness and success for all students.

For more information about the contest, email innovation@ktufsd.org, or visit www.ktufsd.org/Page/18230.

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