In our survey of participants, one of the most valued aspects of our model is the time away from school campuses and the opportunity for more training and dedicated time for the team to work together. Today, we gathered the teams just south of downtown Atlanta at a non-profit headquarters, Trees Atlanta. With our grant funding, we are able to rent facilities to accommodate up to 100 participants with room to spread out in working groups and with great food and resources. Today's agenda was focused on putting teams through another round of design thinking (this time, redesigning the blood drive experience), having them update one another on their progress, spend time as teams on their challenge prototypes, and connect to learn from the experiences of other teams. Robert Kronley was present to conduct select interviews and observe the work first hand. A very productive day!
The kickoff meetings with the school pairs went well. It was a lot of time invested for Scott and those of us on the Leadership Team (6 sets of 2 1/2 hour meetings across a few weeks), but we all agreed the concentrated time was needed and effective for the teams. We're still struggling with the value of the paired teams (we've asked them to reach out to one another throughout the year), but we've been able to on-board new teams and new teams members as well as help teams refocus and or pivot their challenges as need be.
One area we've became more focused on is how to bring the leadership of the various schools "into" the work. Although they were invited to the two day summit last spring, only a few of the school heads or principals came. In advance of our Fall Design Summit next week, we decided to host a dinner at Lovett this evening for Fulton County district leadership, heads of the independent schools, school principals, team facilitators, and David Weitnauer of the Dobbs Foundation with our Leadership Team. We gave a welcome, followed by an overview of "why innovation" and background on Stanford and the d.global initiative. We then asked two school facilitators--one public school and one independent school-- to give the school leaders their case studies/perspectives. We closed with key findings to date and our timeline for the year ahead.
In particular, we were pleased to announce that the Dobbs Foundation is funding an evaluation of our model this year. Robert Kronley will be with us at our face to face events as well as conducting interviews and examining our meeting records and various documentation.
Feedback from the school leaders was very positive and we are excited to have them more connected to the work.
This blog captures the spirit of the Atlanta K12 Design Challenge: a community of voices joined together to create something new. We welcome the broader community to engage with us here as we reflect on our journey together.