Independence School District wins innovation award for program giving credit to teens for real-life work

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Schools in Independence are celebrating Friday after taking home top honors.

The district has been named Education Innovator of the Year by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.

Independence won this award thanks to the success of it's "academy model," which allows high school students to earn credit while doing real-life work in the community.

Through these academies, students are starting businesses, flipping houses and running a clothing store and bakery.

Last year 72 percent of students graduated with either dual credit or an industry-recognized credential thanks to this program.

Independence is one of only 19 school districts in the country to implement the academy model.