Sarasota Charter School Program Wins International Education Award

The Operation Outbreak (O2) educational platform, developed at Sarasota Military Academy (SMA), a local, public charter school, was recently named the world’s most innovative hybrid learning program at the 2019/2020 Wharton-QS Reimagine Education Awards Ceremony in London, England. 

The global educational awards program, jointly organized by the Wharton School and QS Quacquarelli Symonds, featured judges from around the world who selected the SMA Prep Operation Outbreak program out of approximately 2000 programs from 84 countries. Operation Outbreak was announced as the Gold Winner of the Hybrid Learning Award category during a ceremony held in London on December 10, 2019.

Dr. Todd Brown, Sarasota Military Academy Outreach Director and creator of the Operation Outbreak program and Dr. Andres Colubri, of the Sabeti Lab, submitted an extensive application for this opportunity and was placed on the shortlist, comprised of the top 15% of applicants to the competition, including applications received from over 2000 educational innovators from 84 countries. 

“We were incredibly overwhelmed to learn that the Operation Outbreak (O2) program was named the winner of the hybrid learning award category at such a prestigious level. We wanted to create a program that would impact students at Sarasota Military Academy; we never imagined that we would impact students around the world,” said SMA Outreach Director Dr. Todd Brown, one of the creators of the Operation Outbreak (O2) program. “This award and recognition is a monumental stepping stone for the program, for SMA and ultimately, Sarasota County. We are excited to continue to grow this scalable program for other schools, not only in Sarasota County but around the world.” 

Jack Moran, Reimagine Education Program Manager, said: “Having already been highly-commended by both our independent judges and internal moderators throughout the application cycle, the quality of the Operation Outbreak pedagogy was abundantly apparent by the time that it was selected as our Hybrid Learning Gold Winner. At a time when the attention of the education world is often directed towards multi-million-user solutions like Duolingo, Coursera, and edX, Operation Outbreak have demonstrated that there is immeasurable ingenuity occurring within individual schools and colleges, who offer exemplary educational experiences for their students, and from which even the sector’s biggest players could learn. It is our pleasure to be able to illuminate these pockets of pedagogical progress, and we look forward to seeing what the future is for the project."

 Moran continued: “Operation Outbreak ticked all of our boxes. It is engaging. It is interactive. It has and relies upon real-world application. It finds ways to ensure that the technology upon which it relies enhances the learning experience. It encourages students to think about the world in which they live critically and to gain skills imperative for success in STEM careers. It can be scaled to new groups of users, whether at high-school or college. In particular, our judges and internal moderators frequently commented upon the simplicity of the technology used to make the platform work, which, at a time when educators often struggle to easily and effectively implement complex new technological systems into the classroom, is both desirable and beneficial.”

Reimagine Education is a global conference and competition open to those who are transforming education, including edtech startups, academic faculty from top universities, Chief Innovation Officers, university leadership, teachers and stakeholders in the future of teaching and learning.

This opportunity is one of many offered to Dr. Brown in 2019: he is currently involved in a prestigious, year-long CDC fellowship; the first-place winner of the Henry Ford Innovator Award, and the Ignite Innovator of the Year for Sarasota.  He coordinated the inaugural SMA Education Summit for professionals across the region; conducted a workshop in Shanghai, China in September; and was invited to speak at the 2019 Global IB Conference held in New Orleans.

About Sarasota Military Academy
Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) is a public charter school, college preparatory academy and an accredited IB Diploma and Middle Years Programme (MYP) School with two campuses located in Sarasota, Florida. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor, and respect, SMA's mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multi-cultural and globalized world. Sarasota Military Academy High School is located at 801 N. Orange Avenue and Sarasota Military Academy Prep Middle School, is located at 3101 Bethel Lane. To learn more about SMA, visit http://www.sarasotamilitaryacademy.org/.

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