School Redesign is a one-year innovation accelerator in which schools collaborate to create the best possible learning experiences for children and to dramatically increase academic outcomes. This is a community schools initiative, meaning that schools’ design work is shaped and guided by the voices and efforts of teachers, students, parents, and other community members. We follow the Design Thinking Process, a creative problem-solving process developed at Stanford University and adopted by some of the most successful and innovative organizations across the world.
- [Call to Action] The Learner’s Journey
- [At A Glance] The School Redesign Journey
- [North Star] Four Pillars of Personalized Learning
- [Faces of Innovation] Who Leads the Work of Redesign?
In 2015, SBISD launched a five-year strategic plan, called the Learner’s Journey. Informed by insights from students, staff, and community members, the Learner’s Journey set out a bold vision for the District that would dramatically improve outcomes for Every Child and drive SBISD towards the ultimate goal of T-2-4. Central to the Learner’s Journey is Personalization across the District.
Personalization is instruction that is paced to student learning needs and tailored to individual learning strengths, preferences and interests. A focus on content mastery at the highest standard possible is at the heart of a personalized learning experience.
The process begins with Empathy, prompting designers to set aside assumptions about the world in order to gain a “deep understanding of the problems and realities of the people you are designing for” [IDEO toolkit]. This includes hundreds of interviews with students, parents, teachers, and community members. It also includes a deep dive into years of student achievement and school connectedness data. Designers then use this rich data to Define insights that inform their vision for Redesign. Campuses are exposed to divergent school models through case studies and Learning Visits. Mid-year, campuses will Ideate to build a vision for Redesign. In the spring semester, campuses Prototype and Test their designs in a handful of classrooms and use lessons learned to refine their designs. A Scope and Sequence of School Redesign can be found here.
Throughout the year, campuses engage in formative campus walkthroughs to assess where teachers and students are-- a form of ongoing empathy that surfaces insights to inform design. The initial walkthrough happens in the Spring or Fall. In the first round of walkthroughs and conversations with Core Design Teams, SBISD’s Redesign Team uses an internal Readiness Rubric to assess schools’ strengths and areas for growth in order to differentiate supports.
SBISD has developed a set of guiding principles to drive personalized learning. These include:
● Learning does not start at 8am and end at 3pm.
● Teachers leverage technology to provide every student with access to instruction and content anytime, anywhere.
● Students use the real world as context for their learning, allowing them to build meaningful connections. Teachers provide opportunities to engage in experiential learning.
● Students develop habits of mind that cultivate a lifetime of learning.
Rigorous and Individualized Instruction
● Every child “sweats.” Instruction is designed with every child in mind, taking into account their different strengths and areas of opportunity.
● Every child has learning opportunities that allow for on-level instruction, challenging materials/content, and productive struggle. Instruction is personalized.
● Teachers enable multiple learning pathways for students; students use data to set learning goals that are personally challenging and monitor their progress.
Holistic, Actionable Data
● Students, teachers, and parents have access to multiple sources of data (e.g. academic, SEL, interests, student wellness) and use this data to make decisions.
● Data is an integral part of the school community.
● Every child in our systems has unique perspectives, gifts, and needs - data will help us identify and design learning environments to meet these.
Student Voice and Agency
● Students have ownership over their learning and have a voice in their school community.
● They are empowered to take action on learning data and have flexibility and choice in how they manage their learning i.e.. when and how).
● Student voice and agency can also be manifested through authentic leadership opportunities where students have voice in school-based decisions at a large scale.
At the District-level, a small and nimble team of four School Redesign Coaches directly supports 25 campuses. The team is led by Elliott Witney, Associate Superintendent of Academic Design and Performance. The School Redesign Team works collaboratively with all other District Departments to ensure that designing for the "work of tomorrow" is balanced with urgent "work of today". This includes formal collaborative relationships (codified by a dotted-line structure in our Organizational Chart), as well as informal collaborations as campus needs arise.
At each campus, a carefully selected Core Design Team of 4-5 instructional and administrative leaders (including the Principal) leads the work of design in Year One. While this group spearheads the work, they are charged with bringing along a larger circle of stakeholders who implement and support the work. This larger group, called the Campus Design Team, typically consists of 15-20 staff, student, parent, and community representatives.