Our first design workshop with the administrative leadership team at Madison Elementary School District took place this week! We are amazed at how quickly our partnership with Madison has progressed. After hearing Punya and our dean, Carole Basile, speak at a conference, Quinn Kellis, superintendent of Madison, contacted us to see if we could work with one of their middle schools on how best to utilize a new wing they are constructing. The new building features glass-walled classrooms that open onto a shared “commons” space in the center of the corridor, and offers many opportunities for innovative teaching practices. From our initial conversation about the middle school, we expanded our engagement with the district to include leading monthly design sessions at the ALT’s professional development meetings. At our first workshop on July 25, 30 district leaders (including principals, assistant principals and directors of various areas) came together for a day that started with a “cardboard challenge” activity to kick-start creative thinking and collaboration (inspired by Caine’s Arcade).
Then the group learned about wicked problems and how design thinking can help solve those problems and ended by generating a list of the most important challenges they face. The next step is working with the superintendent and senior leadership team to select five topics to focus on for the year, form design teams to work on each topic and get started with the design process. Our next session comes up quickly on Aug. 10.