Students Design for Education
Working at the Business Innovation Factory, partnering with Youth In Action, and Rhode Island Department of Education.
Position: Project Manager and Lead Experience Designer
Process Design and Strategy
Design Thinking Curriculum Development
Participatory Design Facilitation
Students Design For Education (SD4E) is a groundbreaking initiative to create a student designed school. SD4E is driven by a team of students hungry for transformation, fortified by educators and community members passionate about student success, and powered by 1 killer design process. I facilitated the design of this school, drawing on human centered design to give students the tools they need to design the school they want and deserve.
We are leveraging the collective power and creativity of students to design a model of education that works for them. We have asked ourselves how we can improve school performance, test scores, and graduation rates. This only gets us to incremental improvements. If we want to dramatically change outcomes, we need to look at education through the eyes of students.
As the Lead Experience Designer on the project, I developed a design thinking framework for students to use as they designed this school. I acted as a coach from ideation to the opening of 360 High School, a school inspired by and, in large part, led by these students.
The design thinking curriculum included: a research phase that focused on understanding the needs and motivations of students, as well as gathering outside inspiration during a number of field trips; a design phase where the team will imagine new possibilities of what education could be; several community critiques, where experts and stakeholders give meaningful feedback to the team; and a phase of iteration and development to finalize the school design. The Design Team reported to an all-student Steering Committee, ensuring ongoing critical reflection about the student experience. Ultimately the students' ideas merged with that of a team of educators and community leaders to form 360 High School, now open in its premier year in Providence, RI.
Our hope is that by shining a national storytelling spotlight on this process, we create a repeatable approach for transformation in education for others to use across the country.