QTEA Innovation Awards

Innovation Awards Overview

What is the Innovation Award Grant?

For the 2020-21 school year, schools have the opportunity to apply to redesign an aspect of your school’s work that tackles an equity dilemma and further develops the skills and competencies of the Graduate Profile for all students. For the 2020-21 school year, schools have the opportunity to apply for an Innovation Award in order to redesign an aspect of their school’s work that tackles an equity dilemma and further develops the skills and competencies of the Graduate Profile for all students.

Selected schools will..

  1. Identify an equity dilemma you are currently facing
  2. Apply for an Innovation Award. If selected, ...
  3. Meet with the iLab for a consultation to customize your design and coaching structure given your needs and context (e.g. a short design sprint, embed sessions in existing PD structures, etc)
  4. Engage in a funded and customized innovation liberatory design and coaching process
  5. Design, test, and implement  a solution(s) to address your equity dilemma
  6. Receive funding to implement your solution

Congratulations to the 2020-21 QTEA Innovation Award participants:

  • Dianne Feinstein Elementary School is rethinking their teacher practices and student supports in Designated ELD to address the persistent opportunity gaps for English Learners in order to increase student engagement and scores on standardized tests.
  • Jefferson Elementary School is researching and designing outdoor learning spaces that could enhance both the educational experience of Jefferson students as well as students across other sites in a safe and sustainable way.  
  • Longfellow Elementary School is exploring ways to deepen their family relationships, create more culturally responsive pedagogy, and expand their teacher practices in order to support their Spanish Biliteracy pathway students to thrive academically, socially and emotionally.
  • San Francisco International High School, Mission High School, and Thurgood Academic High School in partnership with SFUSD’s Multilingual Pathways Department are focused on how to create effective curriculum and support for newcomer students in mathematics in order to increase engagement, participation, and lessen the stark opportunity gap that currently exists especially in distance learning..
  • Shoestring’s Children's Center is partnering with families and caregivers to provide home learning school supplies, resources, and supports in order to create optimal and customized at-home learning experiences for their students. 
  • Starr King Elementary School is designing 4th-5th grade portfolios and defenses of learning to support opportunities for students to demonstrate learning through performance assessments, as well as considering how K-3 can engage in and support the portfolio process.
  • Webster Elementary School’s 3rd-5th grade educators are engaged in student artifact collection, revision, and reflection, in advance of student presentations during spring conferences.
  • Willie Brown Middle School, Starr King Elementary School, and Visitacion Valley Middle School in partnership with SFUSD’s AAALI department are investigating how participatory action research can enhance youth voice as a way to promote the creation, elimination or revision of the policies that most negatively affect marginalized youth in the district.
  • Zaida T. Rodriquez Early Education Center is seeking to better understand the barriers to engagement facing Latinx and African American students in order to increase English language and literacy acquisition skill development.

Why apply for an Innovation Award?

In these unprecedented times, we know that each and every student is not currently getting the high quality education that they deserve. A global pandemic, growing economic inequality, and racism exposed in growing ways has affected our students, families and staff in immeasurable ways. “School” as it was historically designed is less adequate than ever to ensure that our students, particularly African American and other marginalized student groups, receive the high quality education they deserve to develop the skills of the Graduate Profile and thrive in these times.

Application Process for SY21-22

Why apply for a 2021-22 Innovation Award?

Each year QTEA Innovation Awards provide facilitation and funding for schools to redesign an aspect of their model so that each and every student can graduate ready to thrive in the 21st century as mirrored by the skills of SFUSD’s Graduate Profile. Following this past year, schools named that traditional assessments were more limited than ever in understanding the level of students’ proficiency in these skills. In the context of the pandemic and systemic racism, schools have underscored the importance of developing authentic assessments that motivate students, particularly those least reached, and teachers to learn together toward proficiency in the knowledge and skills of the Graduate Profile. 

What is the Innovation Award?

For the 2021-22 school year, the Innovation Awards will facilitate a design process for schools to create, test, and implement Demonstrations of Learning including portfolio defenses or other forms of performance assessment. These Demonstrations of Learning allow students to celebrate their humanity and reflect on their path toward proficiency in academic content, language and literacy, and the skills of the Graduate Profile in partnership with their teachers in moments throughout the year and at the semester's end.

Schools will...

  1. Identify an equity dilemma in demonstrating learning that you are currently facing
  2. Apply for an Innovation Award. If selected, ...
  3. Engage in a facilitated school based design of Portfolio Defenses or other Demonstrations of Learning 
  4. Design, test, and implement a Demonstrations of Learning system at your school
  5. Receive funding to support the design process and implementation of your Demonstrations of Learning system

How to apply…

  1. Applications will be accepted by 11:59pm on Sept. 15th
  2. Schools are encouraged to consult with the iLab prior to the submission of their application.
  3. Complete this application.  You can also review the application scoring rubric.  
  4. Applicants will be notified of initial acceptance by mid September


Contact Julie Kessler or Brian Fox in the iLab at with any questions or for a consultation. If you are interested in joining the PLC starting on September 1st, let us know here.