The Montevideo School District has recently applied to the state of Minnesota to implement an Innovation Zone in the district. If the application is approved, Montevideo will team up with Benson to create the first Innovation Zone in the area.

The Montevideo School District has recently applied to the state of Minnesota to implement an Innovation Zone in the district. If the application is approved, Montevideo will team up with Benson to create the first Innovation Zone in the area.

An Innovation Zone is a slightly different approach to learning. It is meant to encourage innovative thoughts and ideas, while also taking a different approach to learning the school curriculum. It will also exempt the district from certain state rules and laws, such as the number of hours required for a student to be in a classroom, or what time students will start and end their school day.

With an Innovation Zone implemented, students who are interested in working with mentors in the community, or who would like to experience more hands-on learning, or who want to try something different will have the freedom to do so.

The district’s hope with the zone is that if they can create educational opportunities that are relevant and personalized, then all students will achieve at higher levels.

If the zone applied for is passed, it would allow for additional zones to be created, and other interested districts could possibly join.

“We want students to learn using their preferred learning style,” said Luther Heller, superintendent of the school district. “Whether it be through discussion, lectures, or hands-on learning.”

The zone is also meant to help students, especially older students, pursue their vocational interests. Heller hopes this could provide opportunities for the students to prepare for postsecondary schooling. For example, a student interested in studying nursing might be able to job shadow at the hospital or another medical center.

Heller and the rest of the school board want students to be engaged in their learning, to find it interesting and develop goals for the future.

If a zone is implemented, there will be no change to the staff or location of schooling. Students who wish to continue schooling the “traditional” way will also be able to continue doing so. In addition, the freedom provided by the Innovation Zone will allow teachers to try new or different teaching methods as well, giving them the freedom to teach their way.

It is still early on in the process, but Principal Bruce Bergeson has been working with some of the teachers to plan ahead and discuss what they would like to do differently.

“It is still very early, but the idea has been received well, and even if it doesn’t get approved we’d still like to try some changes,” said Bergeson.

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