Institute for Innovation

Connecting the dots.

In the fall of 2014, the Mountain Brook school system launched the Institute for Innovation after a team of Mountain Brook educators and community leaders affirmed their belief that education must be transformed.  The mission of the Institute for Innovation is to establish a clear pathway for innovation within our education system.

Through the Institute for Innovation, Mountain Brook teachers are encouraged to apply for annual grants to fund innovative and transformative ideas within their classrooms.  Each year, the Mountain Brook City Schools Foundations funds the selected ideas with the goal of equipping students with skill sets needed for the 21st century: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and effective communication.

Grant recipients are required to blog about their funded projects throughout the year and present year-end findings to the Mountain Brook City Schools Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Our Mission

The mission of the Institute for Innovation is to establish a pathway for a culture of innovators.  Selected grants focus on problem solving through play, passion and purpose; creating new-to-the world ideas; empowering teachers and students with a growth mindset and learning how other organizations and individuals foster innovative practices.

The purpose for the Institute is for students to learn to:

  • To problem solve through play, passion, and purpose
  • To create new-to-the-world ideas
  • To empower teachers and students with a growth mindset
  • To learn how other organizations and individuals foster innovative practices

Examples of Projects by the Institute for Innovation:

2018 Grant Recipient (Mountain Brook Junior High)  – The World Peace Game
Faculty Team: Suzan Brandt, Tami Genry, Paul Hnizdil, Holly Martin and James Salvant
“Overall, the World Peace Game has shown me a totally different way of thinking and interacting with others.”
–          Mountain Brook Junior High Student
“Bringing the World Peace Game to the Mountain Brook Junior High has been the most rewarding professional development experience in my 22 years in the classroom.”
–          Paul Hnizdil
2017 Grant Recipient (Mountain Brook High School) – 360 Degrees Math Engagement
Faculty Team: Morgan Chatham
Morgan Chatham wanted to encourage her math students to be more engaged and interactive in her classroom.  Sheexplained, “I had thought for several years that I wanted to change the way I teach math.  I knew that there had to be a way to get the students engaged and keep them engaged in the process without shutting down when the content gets challenging.  Thanks to the Institute for Innovation, I had the opportunity to try something new in my classroom!”
Mrs. Chatham’s vision became a reality when she was awarded an Institute for Innovation grant in 2018.  With this funding, she installed projectors in her classroom and whiteboards on every wall in her classroom to create 360 degrees of interactive work space. 
This design proved successful in achieving Mrs. Chatham’s goals and has since been implemented in other math classrooms at Mountain Brook High School.