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Design Lab

Group of educators with wearing Design Lab t-shirts

Introduction

Launched in March 2018, the DCPS Design Lab provides forward-thinking school leaders and their teams with the network, resources, and support they need to boldly redesign their schools. Believing that school communities are best positioned to meet the needs of their students who are furthest from opportunity, we put innovation directly in the hands of educators.

The Design Lab is structured in alignment with the best practices in human-centered design thinking. Throughout the multi-year, cohort-based experience, the Design Lab:

  • Fosters a community of collaboration and innovation across the cohort of school teams.
  • Provides schools with the opportunity to ideate, prototype and test their redesign components.
  • Engages school teams in a rigorous learning experience that supports envisioning and implementing new instructional models to increase student achievement through ongoing workshops and school visits.
  • Provides school teams with concierge support in implementing their vision by providing them with responsive and differentiated coaching, support and resources.

Design Principles

While their visions for redesign are intentionally varied, all schools in the Design Lab are grounded in the following Design Principles:

  • Equitable: Our schools create new possibilities by redesigning the learning experience to meet the needs of all students and empower them to achieve their dreams.
  • Bold and Innovative: Our schools have the courage to dream big and boldly, learn from failure, and continuously improve to ensure all students are prepared to succeed in a rapidly changing society.
  • Community-Driven: Our schools are designed with students, staff, and community members at the table. Ongoing collaboration among students and adults is essential.
  • Focused on the Whole Child: Our schools go beyond teaching fundamental skills to intentionally redefine and expand what it means to be a successful learner. Our schools develop students who think critically and creatively, and educators are attuned to their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development.
  • Learner-Driven: Our schools design authentic learning experiences driven by students’ interests, passions, skills, and needs to maximize the power of student agency and foster a lifelong love of learning.
  • Full of Love and Joy: Our schools are designed with intention so that students feel loved, nurtured, safe, and empowered.

Participating Schools

The inaugural cohort of the Design Lab represents eleven schools across seven wards of the city.

  • Ballou STAY HS
  • Drew ES
  • Garrison ES
  • Hearst ES
  • Hendley ES
  • Langley ES
  • Ludlow-Taylor ES
  • Sousa MS
  • Tubman ES
  • Turner ES
  • Walker-Jones EC
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