Mountain Park Elementary leads the way as a Design Thinking School. Watch the newest video highlighting our use of Design Thinking.
Design Thinking at MPE
Over the past six years, Mountain Park Elementary has endeavored to use design thinking to solve various challenges for school improvement. The first school-wide challenge the team took on was related to homework: How might we ensure that students have a reasonable amount of respectful homework? The design team engaged stakeholders to gain empathy at both the school (students, teachers) and community (parents) levels. Using design thinking, teachers created grade-level homework prototypes that proved to offer the right solution to a huge challenge. The homework challenge prototypes resulted in a 95% decrease in homework concerns reported by parents, students and teachers due to consistent teacher use of the grade level homework prototypes.
Mountain Park Elementary uses Professional Learning Communities (PLC) to engage teachers in creating goals and action steps to increase student achievement. Despite years of training and high levels of support, our PLCs were unable to move from collecting and analyzing data to creating and implementing action steps and accountability. A Professional Learning Community (PLC) challenge was addressed through design thinking: It would be game changing if teams left data analysis meetings with specific action steps to increase student achievement. The design team engaged staff across grade levels to design prototypes that would help achieve this goal. After implementing the teacher developed prototype, teacher feedback on PLCs indicates more productive and efficient meetings. Ongoing feedback and iteration have resulted in PLC teams showing marked increase in student achievement.
The most impactful challenge to date tackled improving achievement for each grade level’s “Bottom 30%”: How might we design a way to increase achievement for our bottom 30% of students in reading and math? Once again, the design team worked to engage grade level teams and utilize design thinking to ensure the right solution. Each grade level developed a prototype for each subject and implemented. This work resulted in a remarkable increase in student achievement for each grade in both reading and math.