Innovation in Teaching Competition

The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement is pleased to announce the details of the 2017-2018 Innovation in Teaching Competition!

What is the Innovation in Teaching Competition?

The Innovation in Teaching Competition promotes excellence in the classroom by: (a) recognizing and rewarding Georgia’s most effective educators, and (b) making examples of their practices available to Georgia’s teachers and leaders online.

This year’s competition will focus on teachers that excel in one of the following priority areas:

  • Blended Learning and Personalized Learning; 
  • Innovative Practice to Close the Achievement Gap;
  • Language and Literacy; or
  • STEAM Applied Learning

What does each winner receive?

  • $5,000 stipend for serving as a model educator,
  • $10,000 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?

Teachers must be recommended by a principal, assistant principal, instructional coach, district staff member, GOSA Language & Literacy Specialist, or GaDOE staff (Teacher and Leader Effectiveness, School Improvement or Curriculum). Based on these recommendations, GOSA will invite select teachers to apply. Click here to recommend a teacher.

What does the application include?

Teachers who are invited to apply will submit material in two phases:

If Invited to Participate in Phase One
  • A short application form,
  • A one- to four-day lesson plan that is aligned with one of the Innovation in Teaching Competition priority areas (please see definitions below for more information). This lesson plan will have to come from the full unit plan that you would submit if invited to participate in Phase Two (see below).
  • A five-minute video of the applicant teaching the lesson he/she submitted or a similar lesson. 
If Invited to Participate in Phase Two
  • The full unit plan the originally-submitted lesson came from and supplementary materials
  • Two years of teacher evaluation results,
  • Two years of student growth data,
  • An explanation of how the school will use the $10,000 grant, and
  • Recommendation letter from the teacher’s direct supervisor.

What is the timeframe for the competition?

August 1st  Recommendations Open
September 1st Recommendations Close
By September 6th Teachers invited to apply to Phase One
October 12th Phase One applications due
By November 2nd Teachers invited to apply to Phase Two
November 28th Phase Two applications due
Early January Winners announced


Unit plans in the Applied Learning with a Focus on STEAM priority area will:

  • Provide students with a rigorous curriculum that seamlessly and authentically integrates science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics;
  • Provide opportunities for students to apply classroom content to authentic, real-world (personal, home, career, community, society) experiences. These opportunities should be a part of a rigorous academic curriculum, not just “fun” projects; and
  • Build students’ 21st Century Skills, including but not limited to: critical thinking, problem solving, grit, collaboration and communication.

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)

Unit plans in the Blended and Personalized Learning priority area will:

  • Provide students with agency over the place, path, and pace of their learning;
  • Where appropriate, use online learning to allow for student agency over the pace, path, and pace of their learning;
  • Allow students to progress based on mastery of content, rather than a pre-determined timeline;
  • Appropriately differentiate instruction for all types and levels of learners; and
  • Utilize rigorous learning experiences that appropriately challenge students.

Unit plans in the Birth to Age Eight Language and Literacy priority area will:

  • Provide children, birth to age eight, with access to language-rich child and adult interactions both inside and outside of school; and
  • Provide children with rigorous, evidence-based instruction aimed to ensure that, by 3rd grade, students are active consumers and critical thinkers of written texts.

Unit plans in the Innovative Practices to Close the Achievement Gap will:

  • Promote academic achievement for all types and levels of learners; and
  • Clearly demonstrate how the methods included in their unit plan promote academic success for all students.


Click here to view a list of previous Innovation in Teaching Competition winners.