Innovation in Teaching Competition



About the Innovation in Teaching Competition

The Innovation in Teaching Competition promotes excellence in the classroom by recognizing and rewarding Georgia's most effective educators and making examples of their practices, including videos and full unit plans, available to Georgia's teachers and leaders on and other online platforms.


School Year 2016-2017 Competition

The Governor's Office of Student Achievement is pleased to announce the School Year 2016-2017 Innovation in Teaching Competition!  This year's competition will focus on teachers that excel in one of the following priority areas:
  • Applied Learning with a Focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics Education);
  • Blended Learning;
  • Innovative Practices to Close the Achievement Gap; and
  • Kindergarten through 3rd Grade Language and Literacy.
What does each winner receive?
  • $3,000 stipend for serving as a model educator,
  • $4,000 grant to support innovative practices in his/her school, and
  • Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) will film his/her classroom and make this video, along with his/her unit plan and supplementary materials, available online for other teachers.
How do I apply?

In order to apply, a teacher must first be recommended by a principal, assistant principal, district staff member, GOSA Language and Literacy Specialist, or GaDOE staff (Teacher and Leader Effectiveness, School Improvement, or Curriculum).  

Based on these recommendations, GOSA will invite select teachers to apply to Phase One of the competition.  Following a review of Phase One applications, GOSA will select semi-finalists to participate in Phase Two of the competition. 

What does the application include?
Phase One Application
  • A short application form,
  • A one- to three-day lesson plan that is aligned with one of the Innovation in Teaching Competition priority areas (please see priority area definitions below for more information), 
  • A five-minute video of the applicant teaching the lesson he/she submitted or a similar lesson. 
Phase Two Application
  • The full unit plan the originally-submitted lesson came from and all corresponding supplementary materials,
  • Two years of teacher evaluation results, and
  • Recommendation letter from the teacher’s direct supervisor.
What is timeframe for the competition? 
August 29
Recommendation Form Opens 
September 20
Recommendation Form Closes 
By September 23
Select Teachers Invited to Apply for Phase One
October 21 (extended deadline)
Phase One Applications Due 
By November 7
Semi-Finalists Invited to Apply for Phase Two
December 6
Phase Two Applications Due 
Winners Announced

Priority Area Definitions

Applied Learning with a Focus on STEAM Education.  Unit plans aligned with this priority area will provide opportunities for students to integrate classroom content with authentic, real-world (personal, home, career, community, society) experiences. Applied Learning units should challenge students to develop and strengthen their problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, and self-management skills.  STEAM Education is defined as an integrated curriculum (as opposed to science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics taught in isolation) that is driven by problem solving, discovery, exploratory project/problem-based learning, and student-centered development of ideas and solutions. (Definition from the Georgia Department of Education)

Blended Learning units will allow students to learn at least in part through online learning with some element of student control over time, place, path and or/pace, and at least in part through in-person teacher instruction. Blended learning is NOT simply placing technology in the classroom or providing students access to online courses.  Blended learning utilizes technology to promote new ways of teaching and data-driven and individualized instruction. (definition adapted from The Clayton Christensen Institute)

Innovative Practices to Close the Achievement Gap are methods of teaching and classroom management that promote academic achievement for all types and levels of learners.  Units aligned with this priority area should clearly demonstrate how the methods included in their unit plan promote academic success for all students.

Kindergarten through Third Grade Language and Literacy focuses on helping K-3 grade students develop the skills they need to be successful readers and learners.  Units should demonstrate how students have access to a language-rich environment that promotes learning to read and developing strong language and literacy skills.