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Missouri Chamber’s Education Innovator Award goes to Academies of the Independence School District and Independence Chamber of Commerce

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The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry has selected the Academies of the Independence School District and the Independence Chamber of Commerce to receive the 2017 Education Innovator Award. Each year the award is presented to an educational institution or program that demonstrates forward-thinking strategies to better prepare students for their futures. They were honored during the annual Missouri Business Awards at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017.

The Independence School District (ISD) and the Independence Chamber developed a meaningful business/education partnership along with more than 60 of the area’s business community members to ensure that all students in the ISD gain relevant experience in their chosen career pathway. The ISD was one of only 19 other districts nationwide selected to implement the Ford Motor Company Next Generation of Learning model as its framework.

Starting as early as 8th grade, students embark on one of 30 career tracks in five areas (STEM, Industrial Technology, Business, Arts and Education and Public Service). Focus is placed on providing students with rigorous coursework and access to over 92 college credits or Dual Enrollment offerings, as well as Industry Recognized Credentials. Hands-on experience is another large component – students are starting businesses, flipping houses, teaching classroom lessons and running a bakery.

These personalized small learning communities give students a strong advantage over their peers. In 2017, 72 percent of ISD students graduated with dual credit or an Industry Recognized Credential, which is an increase of more than 50 percent in just two years.

The Missouri Chamber is proud to recognize ISD Academies and the Independence Chamber’s dedication to student success and development of the workforce and business leaders of the future. ISD Academies truly bridge the gap between business, industry and education in a meaningful manner that provides equal access and opportunities for all 15,000 students in the district.

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