Another Design Studio

So, we just finished hosting another Design Studio. I think it went pretty well. We had some very enthusiastic and focused participants from Blue Springs school district in Missouri. The group I facilitated chose to focus on further establishing personalized learning at their school by restructuring their advisory program and piloting some teams with two sophomore groups. I hope everything goes well, and I wish them lots of luck.

If you are wondering what a Design Studio is exactly, then you are probably in the same group as about 3/4 of the teachers at my school (where we host one twice a year). Basically, a Design Studio is a school which has been chosen to be a model for the implementation of a SLC (Smaller Learning Communities) grant.

I think the most important part of the Design Studio experience is getting to see and discuss things that are happening at other schools and time to complete a Gap Analysis and focus on what is happening at your own school. Even if you can’t ever attend a Design Studio, I suggest getting a group together at your school and completing a gap analysis every other year or so. I think it helps to keep the school focused and working towards growth.

You can access some of the materials we used for the Design Studio at this link.

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4 Comments on “Another Design Studio”


  1. I’m glad to hear that The Academy is still participating in the Design Studion program. I’m sitting here waiting for a team presentation to download from the DS materials. While waiting I have revisited the Core Competencies. I am struck by how vital those skills are to students and how NONE of them receive any focus from a test-driven curriculum. I hope that The Academy is continuing to recognize what is truly important to the future of its students and is continuing to focus on the Core Competencies despite the obvious pressures to teach to the tests.


  2. Our school is ending it’s first year under the most recent round of SLC funding, and while we haven’t participated in a “Design Studio” yet, we have participated each year in district-wide “Peer Reviews” that are very similar in nature to the “Design Studios”.

    This is actually our second-round of SLC funding and we are just ending our 4th year of SLC implementation. It’s been a long and not-so-easy process — but I feel that the Peer Reviews and assessment tools like the SLC Self-Assessment found on the NWREL site that you linked to in your post have been extremely helpful each year.

    To everyone out there involved in any of the SLC projects — I wish you the best of luck… SLCs are under a great deal of scrutiny right now… But I have first-hand experience in a school with effective SLCs — and I’ve seen the cultural change that occurs in the students and the teachers. I also have hard data that shows improvement in climate AND achievement after implementation of SLCs.

    SLCs do work — but it takes time and persistence.

  3. astephens Says:

    Dr. Brown,

    I think we have sort of slipped from the Core Competencies a little this year, but we are trying to regroup and make sure they are a strong focus for next year… wish us luck. Hopefully if we keep plugging away, we will not get swallowed by the ever present testing giant. 🙂


  4. […] 2007 — musingsfromtheacademy We had visitors from Georgia on campus today to participate in Design Studio.  I usually am involved in the presentation of materials, but today I was involved in the […]


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