Academics
Academics
Academics
Academics
Academics
Academics

Innovation at AIS 

At Agnes Irwin, you'll find kindergarteners coding robots, fifth graders building 3D models of the Nile River, eighth graders designing video games to explain the principles of Reaganomics, and upper schoolers using design-thinking principles to construct product prototypes.

We encourage our girls to create, explore, and innovate. Collaborate. Think about problems from a new angle. We feel strongly enough about it that we made Igniting Curiosity and Creativity in our students the first of four pillars in our Strategic Plan. We also created two campus spaces dedicated to discovery — and launched an Innovation Team that partners with teachers to bring innovative teaching practices to life in our classrooms. 


Innovation Stations

The STEAM Studio

Visitors to the Middle and Upper School building's Innovation Corridor can find a rotating display of notes and doodles scrawled on the dry-erase walls in the STEAM Studio, as students and faculty alike engage in design-thinking exercises around curriculum and class projects. The studio is outfitted with iPads, 3D printers, a cricut, and other tech tools. A green screen studio provides opportunity for video projects or the easy manipulation of photos, such as the “vintage” photos eighth graders create as part of their study of early 20th-century immigrants.

The iWonder Lab

In the iWonder lab, Agnes Irwin’s youngest students can engage in making, tinkering, and engineering with circuitry kits, K’nex, codeable robots, electronics, and craft supplies. You'll find second graders using robots to design a parade route, PreK girls prototyping inventions that solve problems for nursery rhyme characters, and first graders taking part in "Genius Hour."


Innovation Experts

Learn about the people and programs that fuel innovation at AIS. 
The iTeam

The three members of the Innovation Team — or iTeam for short — are our "Innovation Experts" at AIS. They serve as catalysts and coaches for our teachers and partner with them to bring innovative practices to our classrooms and create meaningful learning experiences for our girls.  

Partners & Collaborators

The iTeam partners with teachers to create new projects, or revamp existing projects, to better engage students in meaningful, authentic learning experiences. They offer brainstorming help, design projects, or provide resources and extra sets of hands to transform ideas into reality.

Professional Development

Throughout the year, the iTeam organizes and leads professional development opportunities for teachers to learn about new tech tools, project ideas, or teaching approaches. In addition to organizing workshops for several inservice days, the team also regularly hosts informal "pop-up PD" sessions during teacher lunch hours and other free periods. 

Faculty Mentoring

The iTeam also oversees Agnes Irwin's Legacy Through Leadership program, an innovation-focused faculty fellowship funded by an E.E. Ford Foundation grant. The iTeam mentors our Innovation Fellows throughout the three-year program. (More on that below.)

Legacy Through Leadership Program

In 2017, thanks to a grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation, Agnes Irwin launched the Legacy Through Leadership program: a three-year fellowship designed to empower faculty members to explore, create, and collaborate on powerful new learning opportunities for students. In workshops and individually, the "Innovation Fellows" delve into pedagogical theory, develop professional goals, and explore new technologies, while being mentored by the iTeam. After the first year, the Fellows become coaches to a new cohort of teachers.
(Click the rectangle icon to view article full-screen.) 


Explore More

“Innovation” encompasses much more than the use of technology. Project-based learning, design thinking and interdisciplinary instruction are all key aspects of an AIS education, along with other tools for teaching in student-centered and meaningful ways. 

Kim Walker


Kim Walker
Director of Technology Integration and Innovation

“The goal is to teach students to value the process of creating, and not just the final product. We focus on student leadership, collaboration, problem-solving, and creativity.”

Julie Diana


Julie Diana
Director of Libraries & Information Technology

“It’s about inquiry and wondering — and that doesn’t only happen in science class. We’re expanding the definition of being curious about things and digging deep into them.”

Maggie Powers


Maggie Powers
Middle and Upper School Director of STEAM Innovation

“Learning how to engage in the design process, to empathize with others and seek meaningful feedback, and understanding how to prototype and iterate when things go wrong, are powerful experiences students can use for the rest of their lives.”