How to Participate

Participate in Innovation in Education Awards

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Innovation in Education Awards

Each year since 2004, CFF recognizes innovative programs within San Diego County through our Innovation in Education Awards program.

Four awards distinguish innovative projects that demonstrate the power and scope of ways to improve K-12 education:

  • inspire – inspiring students to learn
  • innovate – finding new and better ways to educate
  • achieve – demonstrating the results of innovations
  • impact – doing it all, the best of the best for the year

Q: Who can apply?

Anyone associated with projects in a K-12 classroom, school or district. We have received nominations from teachers, principals, district administrators, business partners, even volunteers. You can nominate a worthy project or even self-nominate.

Q: What projects qualify?

Any innovative project that improves K-12 education will be considered. Read through the nomination form on the web and see if your project can provide compelling answers.

Q: What do I get?

Satisfaction

Just the process of preparing a substantial and convincing nomination may provide you with satisfaction of a job done well. Some projects realize that they have work to do before they fully qualify and what might be needed to be recognized.

Cash

CFF donates $5,000 to the school or district for the inspire, innovate and achieve awards. CFF donates $10,000 for the impact award, the best of the best.

Video profile documentary

CFF creates a brief, 2-3 minute, video profile that documents each award. The video appears during the awards program at our CFF annual event and remains archived on the CFF web site.

Trophy

CFF presents a trophy suitable for a display case that recognizes the program and its school or district.

Recognition in the community

The education community has come to anticipate the annual CFF Innovation in Education Awards as recognition of exemplary innovations. CFF invites the four award programs and several honorable mention programs to bring a table of people to attend and be recognized at the event. CFF publishes several recognition ads in San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper and on the SignOnSanDiego web site. The CFF web site will list this year’s innovative programs along with their video profile documentaries.

Q: Do I have to be a CFF program to be recognized?

No. CFF works with a variety of programs in San Diego but we are interested in all programs that do innovative work, that inspire students to learn and that achieve their goals. While we have recognized some programs that have benefitted from CFF collaboration and funding, we have recognized far more that came to us during the award nomination process.

Q: What do I need to do?

First, review the nomination form on the web. Think about the questions and gather evidence that program you want to nominate has met its objectives. Note the deadline date.

Prepare answers in advance so you can copy them onto the form. Provide contact information for yourself, the nominator. Provide information about the nominated program, its school or district.

Decide which award category best suits your nomination: inspire, innovate, achieve or impact. You may nominate a program for any combination of categories.

For any of first three awards, answer the questions for that award. For the impact award, answer all nine questions.

The last requirement on the form is to provide a PDF file with evidence that the nominated program has met its objectives.

Q: How are the awards decided?

CFF invites a jury of reviewers for a half-day session over lunch. Reviewers are selected from teachers, superintendents, technology specialists and CFF board members. The jury reviews all nominated projects, perhaps 25 to 50 nominations. They first decide the impact award and then each of the individual categories of inspire, innovate and achieve. Some programs are so good that they receive honorable mention recognition.

Q: How do you choose the impact award?

Since the impact award recognizes the best of the best, you must answer all nine questions for the inspire, innovate and achieve awards. The jury first considers nominations for the impact award, then reviews all remaining programs for the three separate categories. As a consequence, the jury may see some stiff competition from exemplary programs.

Q: What makes a good nomination?

Please understand that your nomination will be considered among several other very good programs. CFF reviewers will have limited time to review each nomination because there are so many. Well-written explanations that convey easy-to-understand points with strong evidence are better than poorly organized and lengthy nominations. Responses to the questions that are concise yet effective often stand out during reviews.

Q: I have a good idea but I haven’t got results yet. Should I apply?

CFF wants to recognize programs that are proven to be effective. Good ideas that have not yet been tested by students, teachers or the trials of time may be worthy but without evidence of results, they will not rise to the top.

Q: Do I have to have better test scores?

Not necessarily. CFF appreciates that effective programs may be measured in other ways than test scores. Give us the evidence that convinces you, your administrators, your school board, your community that this program works. We created the inspire and innovate awards specifically to address programs that might be effective in other ways than improving test scores. But we still need evidence that something good happened.

Q: My evidence is big. Should I submit it all?

Try to prune down to the essence. A well-organized summary document has proven to be more effective than a large portfolio, which may not be fully reviewed due to time constraints or interest level. Use the responses in the web form to create interest in looking at your evidence.

Q: My program evidence is on my web site or in a video. Can I just send you a link?

At the moment, we need your nomination to be in narrative form entered through the on-line web form. Since the CFF reviewers have limited time and we want each reviewer to see a consistent exposure, we need something simple. If the program is really good, work hard to describe it well.

Q: What programs have been recognized?

Since 2004, CFF has recognized 24 programs with Innovation in Education Awards. The complete list is on the CFF web site. Some programs based on individual determination of a single teacher, some on a classroom initiative, some on school-wide innovations, some district-wide programs. We have recognized programs for special education students, for English language learners, for technology innovations and for school-wide reform programs.

Q: I still have questions. Who do I contact?

Please contact the Classroom of the Future Foundation office at 858-292-3685 or by email at cffstaff@list.sdcoe.net. We will be happy to discuss your ideas and answer your questions.

Collaboration – Validation – Financial Facilitation:

The Classroom of the Future Foundation showcases innovative classroom initiatives that inspire students toward greater academic achievement. CFF plays a key facilitative role in initiatives that incorporate leading-edge technology and dynamic new teaching practices that stretch both the boundaries of the classroom and the imagination of our students.

The Innovation in Education Awards program includes the following categories:

  • The inspire award illustrates the unique attributes of the program that get kids excited about learning. This award specifically focuses on the program characteristics responsible for increasing student interest and enhancing student learning.
  • The innovate award showcases the creative innovations of the programs that facilitate enhanced learning. This award specifically focuses on the uniqueness of the “program actions” that increase student interest and drive achievement.
  • The achieve award demonstrates the tangible program results that drive student learning. It specifically focuses on the “program evidence” that directly correlates to positive student outcomes.
  • The impact award is a best-of-show award given to the one program that best embodies all three attributes – inspire, innovate and achieve.

The Innovation in Education Awards Program includes three $5,000 awards for each of the inspire, innovate, and achieve awards and $10,000 for the impact award. Online applications are available in mid-January and selections are made by a Jury Panel of educators and business leaders in March and announced at the annual Innovation in Education Awards program in May.

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