Bradley Central High School has been chosen to receive the second Innovation Award presented by the Fitzgerald Family Foundation.
Foundation leader Dr. Rodney Fitzgerald presented the award to BCHS Principal Patrick Spangler and math teacher Charis Reagan during Bradley County Schools’ district-wide in-service event Friday.
“In recognizing that innovative methods must be investigated and implemented with determination to prepare our students for tomorrow’s workforce, this Innovation Award was established,” Fitzgerald said.
This award is given to promote the innovative use of technology in schools. Fitzgerald said this ongoing competitive award of up to $15,000 “is to be awarded only if the committee feels that a school-wide plan for implementation can be identified and that a plan for measurable impact can be identified.”
Fitzgerald said the committee carefully reviewed all applications to see which ones contained the most innovative ideas, and the proposal submitted by BCHS fit the bill.
“The impact this is going to have on our campus is incredible," Spangler said, thanking the foundation and the “amazing” teachers who put the proposal together.
Reagan said times have changed, and traditional lecture-based teaching methods are not enough for today’s students. She explained a group of teachers at BCHS has been exploring more ways to provide hands-on education.
“With this grant award, our math and science teachers will utilize our CTE department to help students with the application of theory,” Reagan said, adding they will design projects with both meet state standards for math and science instruction and teach career and technical skills.
The school will purchase a variety of equipment to make this possible, including 3-D printers, electronic balances, a table saw, a drill press, computer-aided drafting software and more. Reagan said the students’ lessons will result in real end products, such as a wig-drying cabinet for the school’s cosmetology program.
“These experiences will make our students more employable,” Reagan said. “They will have the ability to design products and use them to explain their deeper understanding of the standards. All students will work as a unit, equipping them with the soft skills that are a necessity for success in any establishment.”
On Monday, July 29, the Fitzgerald Family Foundation also presented Cleveland High School with an Innovation Award for $15,000. That school will use its funds to create a “makerspace” for students to develop their technical skills.