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Innovations courses prepare students for college and for life by giving them opportunities to use creativity and practical intelligence to solve emerging real-world problems. We aim to equip students with various problem-solving approaches that emphasize the skills needed to thrive in an ever-changing professional landscape. As educators, we assert that young people are inherently curious individuals with a capacity to learn and grow. Pursuant to our mission, we implement an evolving curriculum which provides students rich and varied opportunities for growth in their ability to innovate and create by studying and emulating proven innovative practices. All Seattle Academy students take a trimester of Innovations in 6th, 7th, and 10th grades. 12th graders have the option to take Innovations as an elective. 

High Altitude Balloon Challenge

Students in the Class of 2018 competed in our first Innovations High Altitude Balloon Challenge and successfully launched balloons into space.  Four crews divided into distinctive teams and worked collaboratively, with little guidance from teachers, to plan the event, launch social media campaigns, and build a payload that could gather data and video during its flight.

Photo of Seattle Academy Upper School students in Innovations class whiteboarding


Curriculum is based in the design-thinking mindset.

Photo of Seattle Academy Upper School students collaborating in Innovations class


Classroom culture is collaborative, experimental, iterative, and fundamentally human-centered.

Photo of Seattle Academy student presenting in class in front of a smartboard


The goal is to provide a space for students to develop the intellectual and behavioral tools to navigate adversity and failure successfully.  

Photo of a Seattle Academy Upper School student speaking with an industry expert visitor at Seattle Academy


Interactions with industry experts and real businesses and organizations are an important component of this program.  

Innovations at SAAS FAQ

How does this program prepare students for life?

Innovations is specifically geared towards preparing students for an ever-changing professional landscape. We do not know the jobs of the future, but we hope to provide students with the tools to deal with any obstacle or opportunity they may encounter.

What content is taught in Innovations?

Students are taught skills and given tools in Innovations courses.  They apply the content they’ve learned and their own life experiences to tackle problems uniquely and successfully.  Some hard skills that we expect all Innovations students to be introduced to are CAD (computer-aided design), 3D-printing, the design process, and prototyping.

Why are Innovations courses included included in the graduation requirements at SAAS?

After speaking to many industry professionals over the years about skills they wish their young employees exhibited more of, the answers overwhelmingly came down to the following  essential skills: collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity.  We at SAAS believe that in order for our graduates to match or exceed the pace of change in the world, one must be proficient in these essential skills.