In a fast changing world, the divide between our expectations for adolescents as contributing members of society and the formal education they receive in high school has never been greater. This change has impacted the physical nature of our society, it has resulted in new technologies, methods of communication, access to information, and spurred revolutions in cultural norms and human interactions. There are likely few people more acutely aware of these changes than high school students, and there is likely no better time to reimagine the high school experience than this one.
XQ: The Super School Project was launched in September 2015 as a call to action for teachers, students, school administrators, civic leaders, artists, entrepreneurs, and forward thinking people of all stripes to come together and re-think the high school experience. Funded by a $50 Million commitment by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs – XQ will act as an accelerator sparking America’s high schools to evolve from a model frozen in time and to take on the new challenges facing America’s youth. The factory model of education no longer aligns with the agile and flexible workforce of the future. One of the most telling examples of this misalignment comes from author Dan Pink. Pink has stated that the skills required for problem solving are becoming far less important than the skills required for problem finding. Access to facts and information is no longer the challenge, rather the greater challenge is developing the ability to discern, think critically and collaborate to solve complex problems.
“The premium has moved from problem solving to problem finding as a skill”
– Dan Pink
The Learning Environments team at One Workplace has been deeply committed to creating learning spaces that foster this new form of active learning – developing learning spaces that foster open-ended, student-driven exploration. Upon the initial launch of XQ, our team was asked to join a highly motivated and dedicated team of educators, administrators, students, and community members from the Sonoma County Office of Education to help them re-imagine the learning experience at Cloverdale High school. Titling the project “Cloverdale 2.0”, our team collaborated to develop unique insights into the lives of Cloverdale’s faculty and students, and to completely re-imagine the school’s curriculum, mission, culture, governance, and financial models. Specific attention was paid to the daily experiences of students and teachers within the school, what a typical school day might look like, specific learning assignments, teacher professional development, and the shape and form of the learning spaces themselves.
Working as part of the team for Cloverdale 2.0, One Workplace transformed these insights into a series of 15 infographic posters. Creating these visual stories played a large role in helping to communicate our vision for the school as we successfully navigated each of the first two rounds of the selection process – entering into the finalist selection phase which will be announced in Late July 2016. 50 Finalists will be announced from the current pool of 200 Semi-finalists (culled from several thousand initial entries). Ultimately, up to five school projects will be funded by XQ – with announcements planned for August 1st 2016.
The driving vision was to embark with Sonoma County on a path of disruptive transformation – sparking new innovations which can apply across their school district – and at public high schools across the nation. Dan Blake, Sonoma County Office of Education’s Director of Innovation & Partnerships referenced a quote from Steelcase VP James Ludwig as inspiring the county’s approach to the project, relating it to the challenge of 21st century education. Blake said, “Schools must be a place of curiosity and wonder, if students (and teachers) are to learn, grow, and thrive”.
“Everything begins curiosity, then comes literacy, then comes fluency”
– James Ludwig, VP of Global Design, Steelcase Inc.
The following infographics highlight Key Insights in the exploration of the model for Cloverdale 2.0. Among them you will find the team’s thoughts and perspectives on the school’s systems and structures, physical and social-emotional environments, authentic learning experiences and partnerships with the local community.
We are proud of our partnership with Sonoma County and the Faculty and Staff of Cloverdale High School and look forward to implementing these insights as part of XQ: The Super School Project!