school by me: _____
By MADISON CILLUFFO
school by me: _____ considers student needs, wants, and interests when restructuring the classroom experience. Utilizing design thinking methodology school by me:_____ seeks to create the space and time for students to critically examine the pitfalls of the current education system. Students will then collaborate to envision a school experience that aims to be student-centered.
school by me: _____ intends to be a school-wide program. The first phase will begin in individual classrooms wherein teachers will divide students into working groups to conduct the design thinking process.
During the empathize stage of the design thinking process, students will use guided questions to interview their peers about how they feel about the current school experience. They will discuss ways in which they feel school “works for them,” and ways in which it “does not.” Then in their groups, students will then define the problem in the form of a group-agreed upon “How Might We” statement. They will then brainstorm solutions as a group and decide upon a favorite idea to create a low-fidelity prototype of. Students will then have a chance to showcase their prototypes to the other groups. The class will then vote on the prototype which they feel best improves the classroom experience.
The second phase of school by me: _____ begins. The top prototypes in each class are now showcased at a school-wide assembly. Students have a chance to view these prototypes and vote on their favorite. After the school-wide top prototype is determined, the third phase begins.
In phase three, of the school by me:_____ program interested students can apply to a school-wide committee where they will work with teachers and school staff members to further iterate and test the selected prototype. Beyond this, committee members will consider ways to make sure that the selected prototype is feasible parameters within the school. After the committee feels that they have rigorously tested the product or solution it will be rolled out. Depending on what the prototype looks like, this may take place at a whole-school or individual classroom level.
In phase four of school by me:_____ students across the school will have a chance to submit their feedback. Is the new solution, system, or product doing its part to make the student experience more positive? If not, how can it be improved upon? Committee members will meet again to discuss the feedback and decide how to further improve their prototype.
Ultimately, the work of school by me:_____ is expected to be reiterative and constantly in-flux. Because school by me:_____ aims to create a long-lived impact, committee members meet monthly, during the school year, to ensure that prototype is improved upon time and time again.
It goes without saying that students learn more when they are engaged. According to a study from the University of Wisconsin, “research [on students] has found that interest is a more powerful predictor of future choices than prior achievement or demographic variables.” school by me:_____ attempts to empower students by giving them a chance to work with school staff members to develop a more engaging and student-centered learning experience. school by me:_____ reminds students that their ideas matter.
Adopt & Adapt
Perhaps the biggest “need,” for school by me:_____ to succeed is faculty and staff buy-in. For teachers to be able to guide their students through the design thinking process in their respective classrooms, they must first be willing to either attend training sessions or conduct research on their own time. Beyond this, for the school-wide showcase to take place, school communities need to consider the space (a gym would be ideal) and the time – when on the school calendar would it make sense to hold this event? For committees to run, teachers and staff must be willing to participate. To ensure that prototypes can be effectively generated and tested, capital is needed. The amount needed is dependent on the prototype students vote to move forward with. If students decide to go forward with something like a community garden, then this might prove to be more expensive than the decision to add meditation to the school day.