Our school believes in "Excellence without Excuses". We adopted this motto because we are faced with many challenges due to the population we serve, yet, we understand that we cannot focus on the challenges if we want to succeed. It is extremely important that our focus remains on solutions for excellence. Our vision is to be valued as a premier learning environment by placing students first through quality and excellence. We strive to help our students learn to their full potential by ensuring our ideal are aligned with our action to ensure our students are life, career, and college ready.
What was your original HMW (How Might We) question coming out of the January 14th Design Workshop?
Our original HMW was "HMW increase parental involvement of low achieving students not meeting standards"?
Tell us about your team's experience with the Empathy phase and the biggest surprises and unexpected insights you found.
The Empathy phase revealed several ideals about our school that were shocking and reaffirming of what knew yet did not have the data to support. The initial process began with interviews of high achievers, low-achievers and average achievers. We were shocked to see how open parents were to discuss their experiences. We also had students interview their parents, which revealed greater revelations. It was interesting to realize that all of the parents supported their children as best they could. However, our biggest surprise was that parents felt teachers did not support students which led us into wanting to empathize with teachers to understand why they were not supportive.
Tell us about your team's experience with the Design Summit. What stands out most? What will you take with you?
The Design Summit was an opportunity to have more meaningful discussion about the understanding gained about our new user-teachers. Moreover, the summit allowed us really think about how we may develop a prototype to address the challenge or at least bring some form of resolution. The opportunity to build, test, rebuild and test our prototype was extremely helpful. Additionally, the feedback offered from other schools really was powerful in helping to truly empathize with out user. All in all, the Design Summit was surely time well spent.
What POV (Point of View) statement did you settle on at the Design Summit (at least for now)?
We met Ms. T, a caring, knowledgeable, reflective loyal teacher. We were amazed to learn that she felt a lack of support and acknowledgement of her concerns. It will be game changing for her to be heard and to become a contributing member of the school community.
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 prototype is a teacher-led forum which allows representing teachers to have an open and safe discussion with administrators regarding teacher concerns. The purpose of the forum is to develop a shared understanding. A design team member will facilitate the discussion. Prior to the forum, all teachers will submit their concerns anonymously; these concerns will be entered and analyzed using Survey Monkey. Survey Monkey will identify the top three concerns; a representing teacher from each grade-level will be selected to speak on teachers' behalf at the forum. Administrators will be allowed to address concerns.
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?
Our plan is to share the challenge with our administration and test the prototype at least once before the end of the school year. We received valuable feedback from other groups, which has allowed us to restructure the forum a little differently than initially presented.
What other reflections on the process to date and the collaboration with other schools would you like to share?
Being a part of this initiative has been amazing opportunity to share ideas with other schools. It also also been a tremendous learning opportunity as it relates to taking the time to truly understand people better before making judgements or trying to solve for their benefit.