Design Tech High School opens as newest example of innovative school design
- The entire student body at Design Tech High School — all 550 students — are now meeting together for the first time at the new location on the campus of Oracle, the private partner that made the innovative charter high school possible, EdSurge reports.
- As the name implies, design thinking concepts — including empathy — are woven into the school’s architecture, furnishings, curriculum and learning structure.
- Another innovative aspect of the school is the use of educational “intersessions,” which are two-week sessions held four times a year that allow students to gain direct instruction and experience from area professionals representing different career options or fields of study.
Design Tech High School is an experimental concept that may well prove to be a model for urban school design in the future. The school, like the Khan Lab School, shows the potential of innovative school design that takes education out of the traditional box. Design Tech High School seems to offer the best aspects of a public-private partnership because the corporation not only helps the school have access to resources it may not otherwise be able to afford, but it also is engaged in the educational process, preparing students for jobs that already exist and will exist in the future.
One example is the use of “intersessions” as part of the whole educational process. The “intercessions” offered at the school may not be able to replicated to the same extent in more rural areas, but they may offer inspiration as to ways this idea can be implemented on a smaller scale in other areas of the country. Perhaps semesters or other school breaks could feature a week or two of instruction that includes planned courses presented by area professionals on relevant topics such as coding, writing for the real world, or CPR and health science. These “breaks” could not only provide hands-on learning experiences and serve to help students connect their education with future goals, but could also allow teachers a chance to spend time on preparing richer classroom experiences when students return to traditional classes.
The school also provides an example of how social-emotional learning concepts, like empathy, can be seamlessly incorporated into education through exposure to the design thinking process. As students see examples of empathy and design thinking incorporated into real-world work environments, they may come to see the importance of valuing the experiences of others.