Innovation in Learning Study Group

West Coast: A Day 2 Post From Sherry

By: Sherry Sousa

Today we traveled to another innovative school south of San Diego called Design 39.  Their administrative offices were called the Welcome Center, their nurse's’ office the Wellness Center, and their teachers were Learning Experience Designers.  In order to change the thinking of what it meant to be a school, they felt it was important to change the language they used.  


The Principal of Design 39 offered us guidance in our future work.  He noted that every school has their own ecosystem, and that we can’t replicate programs from one place to another.  He added that they began their conversations when creating their school with two questions:  “What does good teaching look like?”; and “What does good learning look like?”.  He encouraged us to value what we have, and not what we haven’t done.  Finding the passion in educators, what they call “super powers”, allows for greater depth of programming.  He shared that he has a humanities teacher whose superpower is pottery design, and another core teacher has wood working skills.   He agreed that there is a need for curriculum that can be fed with individual passions.  

The words that echoed in my mind as I walked away from this remarkable building were Human Centered Design, Elevation of Humanity, Thoughtful Leadership, and Life Ready.  These are the underpinnings of an educational community that will breed in our students the creativity that is needed in an extremely challenging and evolving world.