Friday, May 3, 2013

Design School Four Year Sequence

Sharing updated work for our Design School.  Starting to build out a four year sequence for the Academy.  The sequence is provided and a draft of descriptions for the individual course/experiences.  We are particular excited about the Designer Practicum and Designer Portal which empowers our capstone architects (still searching for a name) to build a design team from our 10th and 11th grade design school students.  We have to figure out how it will work so feedback is greatly appreciated.  Our school is moving to an A/B schedule with 4 80 minute blocks each day.  Sequence also reflect New Jersey graduation requirements.

Year 1

A Day (Design Day)                       
  • American Experience I                   
  • Intro to Technology and Design                
  • Design Pathway                      

B Day (Traditional Day)
  • World Language  
  • Math
  • Physics
  • Gym

Year 2

A Day (Design Day)                     
  • American Experience II                   
  •  Design Theory and Practice I               
  •  Design Pathway                      
B Day (Traditional Day)
  • Math 
  •  Chemistry 
  • World Language  
  •  Gym 

Year 3

A Day (Design Day)                       
  • The Global Citizen                       
  •  Design Theory and Practice II            
  •  Design Pathway                   

B Day (Traditional Day)
  • Math 
  • Biology/Environmental 
  • Gym 
  • Elective (could continue with World Language) 

Year 4

A Day (Design Day)                    
  • English Independent Study                   
  • Designer Practicum                       
  • Design Seminar                      
 B Day (Traditional Day)
  • Design School Portal  
  • Elective #1
  • Elective #2 
  • Elective #3     

        *Design School TA experience 

Description of Courses

American Experience and Global Citizen
American Experience and Global Citizen are interdisciplinary humanities courses.  Through the design school students will be able to address core graduation requirements for Language Arts and Social Studies.  The course will be co-taught and generally follow the thread of transitioning from American to World History.  Both American Experience and Global Citizen will take a thematic approach and be influenced by the design process.  For example, students in American Experience could examine the theme of economic disparity.  Readings and a developing understanding of American History will support students as they engage in examining the the socio-economic divide in this country.  Students will research contemporary developments/scenarios and offer solutions to disrupt the debilitating cycle of poverty afflicting countless Americans.  Global Citizen would mirror American Experience.  A potential theme could be the exploitation of natural resources.  Again, the core subjects will support students investigate and pose solutions to current issues such as Global Warming, Deforestation, Pollution, Water Deficits, shrinking Biodiversity.

Design Pathway
Design Pathway is an elective option for students.  The goal is for students to “major” in a technical or performance arts content area during their tenure as a student in the design school. Additionally, the opportunity will exist for students to seek certification in the Design Pathway.   

Intro to Tech and Design
Introduction to Technology and Design furthers the current curriculum.  The current version introduces students to various technology systems such as structures, mechanics, electronics, transportation, and aeronautics. In Introduction to Technology and Design Students experiment with designing a problem solving process and using technological systems to address design challenges.  An updated version will further the materials/systems students are introduced to.  The revision builds off a premise that students coming to the high school have limited experience  with the content presented in our elective offerings. Introduction to Technology and Design would provide a place for our students to experiment with samples from our elective offerings and further shape the interests/passion of design school students.

Design Theory and Practice
Design Theory and Practice serves a dual purpose with both outlets connected to the design process.  Students would work on a series of mini-projects where they are investigating a community or school-based need.  Design Theory and Practice would allow students to experiment on a smaller more controlled scale gradually building the capacity of students to engage in the design thinking process and enhance their understanding of core beliefs expressed in the Design School Manifesto for Growth.  Additionally, the course will allow 10th and 11th graders to contribute towards a 12th grade capstone project (see Designer Practicum).  10th and 11th graders will be part of a team working to address a need defined in a capstone project.

Designer Practicum
12th grade students in the Design School will be required to develop a year long capstone project.  In conjunction with a mentor(s) a senior student will have to uncover a human need and work towards addressing that need.  The senior will be viewed as the architect of the capstone experience and initially, assume responsibility for interpreting and defining the problem.  Once a need has been uncovered, each senior must build a plan on how to address the problem.  A required part of of the plan is for each senior (lead architect, head designer, capstone CEO) to build a team which will assist in executing the plan.  10th and 11th grade design students will be recruited (have to define what this actually means) to join a capstone team(s).  

Designer Seminar
Designer Seminar is a space for 12th graders to meet to discuss their capstone experience.  Designer Seminar serves as an internal network where capstone architects share ideas and resources and seek feedback from peers.  Additionally, materials presented in Designer Seminar will stimulate discourse about leadership, conflict resolution and social entrepreneurship

English Independent Study
Senior year English will function as an independent study.  The contents of each independent study will be dictated by the Designer Practicum experience.  The idea of offering 12th grade English as an independent study stems from the belief that after three years as members of the Design School, students are capable of collaborating with a mentor to determine a personalized language arts experience.

Design School Portal
Once the program supports four grades the plan is to group freshman and seniors together on A Day and hold design school course for sophomores and juniors on B Day.  One reason for this arrangement is to allow seniors to work with sophomores and juniors on the capstone project.  

*Additionally, we envision an opportunity for design students to serve as teacher assistants.  As part of senior year, as one of their electives students will have the chance to spend the year int he classroom as a teacher’s assistant.