Lovett is a K-12 school committed to educating the whole child. Our mission statement accurately defines us as a community that seeks to develop young men and women of honor, faith, and wisdom with the character and intellect to thrive in college and in life. At Lovett we value offering students a variety of experiences academically, athletically, and in the fine arts. Our Vision for Learning defines the types of experiences our students will encounter as they move through Lovett and states the following: Lovett offers experiences that inspire our students to love learning. We encourage them to think critically, communicate effectively, engage creatively, and collaborate purposefully. We provide the opportunities and resources that help our students develop independence and self-direction and extend their learning beyond the walls of the classroom as they grow intellectually, emotionally, physically, aesthetically, morally, and spiritually.
What was your original HMW (How Might We) question coming out of the January 14th Design Workshop?
How might we cultivate student curiosity K-12?
Tell us about your team's experience with the Empathy phase and the biggest surprises and unexpected insights you found.
When we started to unpack our empathy interviews, we found three common themes. First, we found that our students from youngest to oldest value curriculum that is relevant to their lives. We were surprised that this even came out of our interviews with our youngest students. Second, we found that as a community, we really have a fear of failure. Our students and parents in particular fear failure and fear that even the smallest of student failures will somehow define their future in life. Third, we found that many of our parents tend to use grades as their sole predictor of success for their children since grades have great influence on college attendance. We have high performing students, and our students, their parents, and their teachers are all invested in student success. However, because Lovett values different types of educational experiences that build skills in critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity, grades alone are not always seen as the "be all end all" by the majority of our teachers. Instead, teachers often embrace small setbacks and use them as teachable moments, but we found that this doesn't always align with how parents interpret small setbacks. We feel that our community as a whole will benefit from more conversation around this topic.
Tell us about your team's experience with the Design Summit. What stands out most? What will you take with you?
Our team had an amazing experience at the Design Summit. We had a great time working together to focus our POV and develop our prototype, and our team dynamics alone helped make the experience a memorable one! Nonetheless, I think the Define stage was the hardest for us, but I also think it was also some of the most important work for us. We had to make sure our language really defined our user and the need we wanted to address. As we move forward, the ability to understand our user and to understand how to iterate a POV statement will be key. We are not sure that our current user will be our end user, but having the skills to define our user and need will make it easier for us to adapt.
The energy in the room at the Design Summit was palpable. We have all been to conferences and other professional development activities, but this experience was so different because of the excitement and commitment brought by each team. When you put all of us in one room, the results were inspirational. I think I can speak for each of my team members by saying that not only do we feel incredibly fortunate to have been part of this experience but also to work at a school that would value and support this type of experience.
What POV (Point of View) statement did you settle on at the Design Summit (at least for now)?
We met a caring, loving parent who is invested in her child's future.
We were amazed to realize that this parent's interpretation of grades was the sole predictor of success in life.
It would be game changing if we could invite new discourse with our parents around embracing failure (risk-taking) as an integral part of Lovett's Vision for Learning.
Tell us about the prototype you built at the Design Summit. What was it? How did it address your POV? In the testing you did with users, what did you learn?
Our goal is to invite our parents into new dialogue around risk-taking in the classroom and how classroom experiences relate to those described in our Vision for Learning. Therefore, for our prototype, we designed a special parent night. During this hour long event, our parents would participate in some improv and mini-challenges that would push them from their comfort zone and into a place where they had to take risks to be successful. Our prototype also offered time for reflection in discussion groups and also in the hallways during transition time through graffiti walls, confessional booths, and conversation. Ultimately we would use the feedback we gathered that evening to decide if and how we would move forward with more discussion.
During our testing we learned that time and context were very important. We had to get our parents in and out in a reasonable amount of time since it was an after-hours event, and we had to provide enough context for them so they understood the importance and the goals of the evening. We took the feedback from our test users and incorporated it into our final prototype presented at the Design Summit.
Tell us about what you're going to do next to continue iterating. What's your action plan? What are you doing on Empathy? What are you doing on Define/POV? What are you planning to do on your prototype?
What other reflections on the process to date and the collaboration with other schools would you like to share?