Mobile Menu

Why Innovation?

IT SEEMS THAT EVERY SCHOOL HAS AN INNOVATION PROGRAM THESE DAYS AND THE REVIEWS HAVE BEEN MIXED. There are those like Grant Lichtman who proposes in his book #EdJourney, A Roadmap to the Future of Education that innovative project-based learning is the future of schools, while others decry it as a facade. While both opinions have some merit when carefully defined, these opinions do not fully consider the nuances of great education.

The truth is that innovation is not new.

It has been part of the human experience since creation. From building carts to chariots, to steam trains, to gas-powered cars, to jets. From papyrus scrolls to the printing press, to the telegraph, to the wireless phone, to handheld data systems. Human history is one of an ever-continuing cycle of disruption. And while each time in history has its unique characteristics, disruption is not in and of itself unique to this generation. 
Innovation has always required creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, information management, personal growth, problem-solving, and communication. While this is true about all innovation, not all educational programs of innovation look the same. Some are building a STEM lab, STEAM Lab, or STREAM Lab. DC is developing an ecosystem not just for engineering-minded students but allows all students the opportunity, according to their interests, time, and abilities, to access tools that will allow them to explore the world and know it better, solve problems and apply solutions. Delaware County Christian School is not changing who it is.

The Center for Innovation

Change infers DC would become something materially different than what it is now–like a caterpillar changing into a butterfly. Nor is DC adapting. Adapting infers adjusting to fit better into an environment like a chameleon that changes its color to hide from danger. What is happening at DC is maturing. Maturity infers that DC improves in delivery and content as it becomes more knowledgeable through study and past experiences.

DC leadership has long believed experiential learning is an extension of a liberal arts education. In 2012, DC dedicated a two-week period called J-term.  In 2016, it was changed to a weekly experiential learning day called SAIL (School of Applied and Innovative Learning). While this greatly improved the faculty’s ability to incorporate innovative thinking throughout the year, it was challenging to fit within the core curriculum schedule and limited the number of off-campus trips. Last year, a hybrid program was developed: students would have two single weeks of project learning times while maintaining other classes in the usual weekly schedule.

These changes significantly improved the curriculum model but still left DC with two separate and siloed ‘schools’: Liberal Arts and SAIL. The Center for Innovation exists to provide space and an academic model of project-based learning as the catalyst for deeper learning for students in all grades. Over time, the separation lines between programs will dim and the connection between knowledge and practice will become stronger.

It has been argued morality hinders creativity. However, at DC we believe innovation must be coupled with moral judgment. It is vital to distinguish between using creative power to seek personal gain and glory versus using it for good work in God’s story with the expressed purpose of glorifying the Lord and assisting others to flourish. This is expressed in The Center for Innovation’s mission. The Center equips our community to go into the world with a posture of innovation out of love for God and His Kingdom. It functions as a catalyst in the broader community by prompting, supporting, celebrating, and cultivating the conditions for innovation.

In the beginning, God created the world and filled it with beauty. God's creative power is archetypal, originating solely from Him. Now that the world is broken due to sin, He is in the process of redeeming it. In this process He has called us, as sub creators, to join Him in this work. While God created out of nothing, the materials and ideas of human innovation are all created by God. This dependent creativity is called ectypal. The Center for Innovation desires to provide students with a more robust, more human, and more concrete form of liberal arts education that engages the body as well as the soul and the mind; without separating the gathering of knowledge and applying of that knowledge. It is with these desires that Delaware County Christian School continues to refine its program to accomplish its mission more fully.                          
–Jim Favino, Director of Strategic Initiatives
This article was originally published in the Spring 2022 Keynoter.