Today’s economy is requiring ever increasing levels of education and skill development for young people entering the workforce. Yet despite the growing need for college-educated graduates and the need for highly skilled workers – fewer and fewer students are making their way to and through college. A recent study showed an even more troubling trend, estimating that 40 percent of lower-income students who have been accepted to college – never make it to their first day of classes. There are many reasons students may find their path to higher education difficult and thankfully there are a number of organizations shedding light on this dilemma and committing themselves to help solve it.

One Workplace has always committed itself to solving big challenges. Whether it be creating dynamic interior spaces or inspiring people through life-changing initiatives, we believe that our efforts always result in the transformation of our lives and the lives of others. In January 2016 we announced our partnership with the Office of the Former First Lady, Michelle Obama, and The Teachers Guild to help tackle the challenge of helping every student complete their education beyond high school.

Over the course of several weeks, The Teachers Guild collected insights from One Workplace along with a national network of educators, innovators, and students about the college-going journey.

“How might we create programs, processes, and tools to provide ongoing support to all students on their journey to and through college?”

This collaboration focused on Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative, inspiring every student in America to further their education path. With the greater goal being, the United States aim to once again have the highest percentage of college graduates in the world by 2020.

Additional insights were generated from educator-led interviews, online and in-person workshops and discovery exercises from teachers and influencers within the community. After the Teachers Guild team had combined their collected insights, it was on to the next phase of the design journey – Ideation.

The ideate phase of our partnership with the Former First Lady allowed education leaders and innovators from all over the world to contribute their ideas to The Teachers Guild to help every young person achieve their college and career goals. Danny Scuderi, a middle school English teacher at Marin Horizon School in California, was in search of new opportunities to grow further as an education leader.

I really wanted to contribute to something beyond my job, something on a broader scale,” says Scuderi.

As a contribution to the design collaboration process for college readiness, Danny developed an idea called “Survival Week,” which supports soon-to-graduate high school seniors in successfully transitioning to college.

I realized I could create something outside my job with reach beyond my school… like all the way to the White House!” – Danny Scuderi

Facebook, a partner of The Teachers Guild, developed Danny’s idea “Survival Week” into a gaming app during a hackathon they hosted with students, teachers, and engineers. Danny’s idea was also selected as a favorite by former First Lady, Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative. In July of 2016, Danny joined One Workplace and other Teachers Guild educators at a White House summit for first-generation college students.

Through our Partnership with the Teachers Guild, teachers were exposed to new expertise and pathways to take their innovations beyond their classroom. Teachers from all over participated in 9 design collaborations over the course of 18 months through The Guild platform. 1500+ ideas were shared for their students and schools, alone. 800+ ideas were shared amongst these teachers, gaining over 7000+ comments with encouraging feedback. This experience was the start of educators expanding their creative leadership. 93% of teachers believed that they could effect change beyond their classroom, while 69% of teachers reported that “connecting with like-minded educators” was valuable to them.

More than 100 mentors with design, business, and operations knowledge merged, advised and supported The Teachers Guild and their teachers throughout this entire process. The support of One Workplace’s creative leadership team began as Build Partners and participants in the “Teacher Professional Learning,” “To and Through College,” “Students as Makers,” and “Character Building” initiatives.

We are extremely honored to have played a significant role in assisting the Teachers Guild in fostering a new approach to teacher learning and joining innovators and educators to re-imagine learning and education for students all over. By actively engaging and committing to our efforts to work toward solving challenges to provide ongoing support to all students on their journey to and through college, we creatively inspired change through collaboration which resulted in the transformation of lives of everyone involved.


Learn more about the Teachers Guild in their 2015-2016 Impact Report.