“Sparking CuriosID” is a blog curated by the innovators who are members of Mount Vernon Presbyterian School’s Innovation Diploma.

Mount Vernon Presbyterian School’s Innovation Diploma offers an extraordinary opportunity for Upper School students to become lead designers of their own learning and lead innovators in the community. According to Tony Wagner, author of The Global Achievement Gap and Creating Innovators, “The 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… will be creative problem-solvers who will generate improvements in existing products, processes, and services, as well as invent new ones… The most essential education challenge today is to graduate all students innovation ready.” Students who earn Mount Vernon’s Innovation Diploma will be more than innovation ready. They observe, question, empathize, experiment, and lead others as they craft and implement innovations that enhance their local, national, and global communities. This cohort experience empowers students to architect their own, customized learning path focused around developing their passions and curiosities into ventures that positively impact the world and people around them while serving as a leaders in design thinking and co-designers of experiences such as Council on Innovation.

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The Innovation Diploma creates opportunity for cohort members to discover or rediscover creative confidence–that natural ability to come up with new ideas and dig up the courage to actually try them out. Learners will be challenged to step out of typical comfort zones and work with their hands to create something unexpected, write in a way they haven’t written before, and learn something they never knew they could. This incredible opportunity is one that positions students to work alongside established entrepreneurs, community leaders, and proven innovators tackling issues and solving wicked problems. Distinguishing characteristics of this program are:

  • Cohort members become agents of MVIFI, thus expanding their network
  • A significant amount of time is carved out purposefully to allow students to dig even deeper into their ventures
  • iD students are expected to regularly present and share their work publicly, launch ventures that have significant impact, and serve as leaders and facilitators of design thinking
  • Assessment comes from peer, self, and mentor feedback, digital badging and evidenced results from ventures

Rising ninth and tenth grade students may apply to enter the Innovation Diploma and should have an incredible desire to continue to sharpen their skills as innovators throughout their high school career. Candidates are selected on the basis of demonstrated interest, leadership, initiative, and evidence of extraordinary commitment to the attributes of the MV Mind.

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