"The Paideia School was founded in 1971 by parents who wanted an individualized, creative, and intellectually challenging education for their children. The original building at 1509 Ponce de Leon housed the entire school of 140 students during the first two years. Paideia School now has over 900 students from age three through 12th grade." - www.paideiaschool.org
Framework of Values:
1. Excellence and Hard Work
2. Life Long Learning
3. Respect for Diversity
4. Social Responsibility
7. Development of an Ethical Self
8. Commitment to an Environmental View
9. An Appreciation of the Importance of the Present
What was your original HMW (How Might We) question coming out of the January 14th Design Workshop?
How might we define the intellectual and academic architecture of Paideia?
Tell us about your team's experience with the Empathy phase and the biggest surprises and unexpected insights you found.
Our team found this stage to be the most rewarding because it gave us a chance to connect with colleagues at all levels of the school. It gave us a chance to listen deeply and to follow their thoughts about what they love and their ideas for what could make the school even better. Our greatest insight was finding five common themes emerge after 45 interviews with colleagues, parents, administration, and students in the community.
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 for our team to come back together and work on the challenge for an intense block of time over the course of two days. The summit helped our team actually practice the next steps of design thinking - the idea of going from words on a page to tactile reality.
We took with us:
1. The vital, face-to-face connections with peers at other schools, as well as our mentors. We now feel comfortable just picking up the phone to reach out to another school's team members as needed.
2. Prototyping! How to do it, how to prototype to learn vs. how to prototype to solve, and the types of insights that can only be gained from building an experience for a user.
3. Creative confidence. We have a deeper understanding of the process, the ups and downs, and the twists and turns.
4. Joy. Our team thoroughly enjoyed the hard fun of design thinking and fully embraced this essential work.
What POV (Point of View) statement did you settle on at the Design Summit (at least for now)?
We met dedicated, talented teachers at all levels of the school. We learned that it can be challenging for teachers to navigate all of the support resources available for a student who needs additional help. It would be game changing if the school could provide teachers a clear, flexible, and responsive way to navigate the support resources for students.
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?
We used the metaphor of a Support Concierge. Our prototype experience included a student exhibiting the usual signs of distress (late to class, not turning in assignments, head down on desk, asking to use the restroom often, behavioral issues). That student was literally tethered to our user, tugging on the rope and acting as a weight on the teacher. In the prototype, a colleague directs the teacher to the Support Concierge. The Concierge uses an inventory to collect anecdotal information from the teacher, explains the resources available, and draws up a plan of action. Then the Concierge and all resources noted in the plan take part in helping the teacher to hold onto the rope that tethers him/her to the student in distress, thereby lightening the load and solving the issue.
We learned that teachers do not want to let go of that rope! They are fully invested in their students and want someone to help them help their students. They don't want to turn it over to someone else, and in reality, they can't, because their students are still in their classes everyday.
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 finish up empathy interviews for this year, unpack them, and pull out the common threads to see if they align with or differ from what we have heard thus far. We will continue to share out with the administrative team so that we are all on the same page. We plan to adjust our POV around new details that we learn along the way. For our prototype, we are considering another metaphor suggested by Shelley Paul, our mentor. It is basically a dash board that clearly designates each type of student support available, showing the depth of the support as you drill down on each. It would allow teachers to see a clear path while also customizing the constellation of resources needed for each student.
What other reflections on the process to date and the collaboration with other schools would you like to share?
We look forward to visiting other teams next year at the schools to better understand the context in which they are solving their design challenges and to learn new ways of looking at a challenge.