Has It Only Been a Year?

To culminate the school year, my Innovation and Design team published a blog post reflecting on all that we accomplished, and more importantly, all that we LEARNED, this past school year.

It’s crazy to think we’ve only been working together for one school year, and yet in that time, we co-planned with classroom teachers to create 65 design thinking units. There were other design thinking opportunities provided to students that we weren’t directly involved in, too.

Below is an excerpt from that reflection. I share it here because I think the learnings are universal to many. You can view the original blog post as well, which also includes a fun infographic.


When people think and act like a designer, they must be able to see not just what is, but what might be (Berger, Cad Monkeys). The design thinking opportunities teachers facilitated for students this year truly exposed students to what might be by helping students discover their inner genius, and then empowering students to use that genius to advance the world. We watched in awe as students demonstrated sincere empathy and felt a call to action within, and outside of, design thinking experiences. We felt joy when watching the faces of teachers as they saw their students demonstrate their passion for learning. And we enjoyed seeing those proud parents listen to their children present their prototype solutions at packed exhibitions!

And we learned a lot, too! We learned…
– how important it is to always start with why and to know the priorities. When people understand the why and have an opportunity to be a voice in building the how and what, there is a greater success in change efforts.
– that every site and teacher, just like every student, has unique qualities requiring a customized approach to integrate design thinking experiences.
– connecting with industry experts to not only dive deeper into the content standards and relevant application to careers today, but to provide high-quality feedback on student thinking, exponentially increases student learning. And that expeditionary partnerships with local organizations is truly a game changer that leads to extraordinary experiences for students!
– a constant feedback loop is important from all stakeholders. Feedback, or better yet, feedforward, is an art form, and we are all working towards being master artists.
– our beliefs and experiences inform our actions. It is critical to give people an opportunity to experience something new for themselves so that they are empowered to contribute to leading change initiatives.

DMUSD Innovation & Design Team

DMUSD Innovation & Design Team


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