Innovator-in-Residence Program

Our Innovator-in-Residence (IIR) Program is a dynamic and enriching annual initiative that brings in a forward-thinking, creative and knowledgeable individual to collaborate with students, teachers and administrators.

The program aims to foster a culture of innovation and critical thinking within our school community. Students get a glimpse into real-world challenges and potential career paths, fostering a stronger connection between classroom learning and the outside world.

The program was introduced in 2019-20 following a generous gift from an anonymous donor, and fully funded in perpetuity in 2022-23 through the kindness of another donor wishing to remain anonymous. Additional funding has been received through these initial years from other generous gifts to the program. We are grateful for the commitment of these families whose vision benefits our students daily. Through this permanent endowment, our students have direct access to innovative leaders in diverse fields, promoting a culture of innovation that prepares them to thrive in an ever-changing world.

The focus of the Innovator-in-Residence Program changes annually and takes many forms; the program has the flexibility to be truly innovative.

Key components of the program are:

  • Selection of the innovator: In conjunction with a volunteer advisory committee, senior leaders from the School carefully select an innovator with expertise in areas such as technology, the arts, science, design or entrepreneurship. This person serves as a role model and mentor for students, showcasing the value of creativity, problem-solving and perseverance.
  • Duration and structure: The program lasts for a defined period: either a short, intensive term of 6-8 weeks or a full academic year. During this time, the innovator is regularly present on campus, participating in various activities and projects.
  • Collaborative projects: The innovator collaborates with faculty to design and facilitate hands-on projects that integrate innovative approaches into the existing curriculum. These projects may include technology-based initiatives, creative workshops or entrepreneurial challenges.
  • Workshops and presentations: The innovator conducts workshops, seminars and/or presentations to engage students and educators in diverse topics related to their particular area of innovation. These sessions encourage open discussion, idea sharing and practical applications of knowledge.
  • Mentorship and coaching: Students can receive one-on-one or group mentorship from the innovator, enabling students to explore their passions, develop new skills and pursue innovative projects of their own.
  • Community engagement: The program may extend its reach beyond the School by involving parents/guardians, local businesses and the broader community in events and projects organized by the innovator. This engagement promotes a sense of collaboration and connects students with real-world challenges and opportunities.
  • Showcasing innovation: During each residency, the program provides platforms for students to showcase their innovative projects and solutions created with the innovator. This could include hosting an innovation fair, organizing pitch competitions, lectures and presentations, or launching student-led startups.
  • Continuous learning: The program promotes continuous learning for students and educators. It fosters a growth mindset, encouraging everyone to embrace experimentation and learn from failures as well as successes.

We look forward to the creative energy our future innovators will bring to ASL, inspiring our students to new levels of critical thinking and design-based learning, and enabling them to be well-prepared for life in a changing world.