Schedule Booklet

The Building of a
School’s Schedule
with design thinking
David H. Clifford for the iLab @SFUSD, April 7, 2016
DSX, a new high school for a new
Inspiring humanity for the rigors of the real
Aiming to incubate the next public school
Rooted in equity and innovation
Truly bringing disparate groups together
Redesigning student and teacher
New schedule
Built by you, for you, and from your X-shaped Awesome!
A school’s schedule is the manifestation of its
values and skill-set.
Traditional schedules were designed to manage
The DSX schedule is designed to inspire
The Mission of DSX, a new high school model,
is rooted in equity and innovation and aims to
inspire humanity for the rigors of a new (and
ever-changing) world by building students
with the agency to a!ect change, agility to
seek out and navigate complex dilemmas and
access to one's purpose and character.
DSX wants to bring together disparate learners (marginalized
and privileged) together to learn from and with each other in
order to dismantle structures of segregation and oppression
and co-create and construct new possibilities.
At DSX, we accept the challenge that legacy school models do
not adequately prepare students with 21st century skills. We
commit that every DSX graduate - whether s/he is college
bound, passionate about career opportunities, an activist for
social causes, or a budding entrepreneur - will be prepared
for his or her chosen path.
Students Practice:
Cultural Competency
Critical Thinking
Content is a given. Content intake is easier
than ever with the internet and the massive
edTech movement and the capital behind it.
And so what?
What are students doing with this content?
Schools can no longer be content driven. They need to
prepare students to be able to navigate uncertainty.
These core DSX practices will equip our students to navigate
and design within uncertainty with confidence and
We needed a school and a schedule that created opportunities
to practice these….
….to do so, we had to imagine that a zombie
apocalypse hit the US. All notions and all
assumptions of high school had to be wiped
clean. We could then redesign from the
ground up.
design school X
We used design thinking and an equity/social
justice stance to start fresh.
What we found was daunting.
American high school is a system tied to deeply entrenched
(racist and misogynistic) values and actions (note the time and
the user the original high school system was design for).
If you truly use human-centered design starting with our most
at-risk students, you have to redesign everything else to
support your discoveries.
And so we did…..
Here are the design thinking modes
commonly used at Stanford’s
The practice of these modes lead to liberating mindsets like:
Suspend judgement
Celebrate failure
Bias Toward Action
Radical Collaboration
Yes, and….
your user’s world
hidden needs
We conducted dozens of “empathy interviews”
with users
3 generations spanning 60 years,
socio-economic status,
academic ability,
public/private/charter/parochial schools,
high school drop-outs and student body presidents.
We simply wanted to elicit stories about people’s experiences
in school. When they felt amazing or when they felt shamed.
What did school “feel” like and why.
The stories were astonishingly similar…..
new insights
on one challenge
What if….
How Might We
create a learning environment
for disparate learners to want to
fail publicly in front of their peers
because the want to realize their
potential AWESOME!
From these stories we discovered:
Most students (again, spanning 60 years of high school users)
felt a combination of empowerment and dehumanization, or
inclusion within the community or alienated.
There was a fear of failure and shame, but a burning desire to
become something more than what was presented, even if the
school was “high performing.”
So we looked at environments that enhanced or challenged
these notions, like skateparks and skateboard culture—an
emergent learning environment….
the problem
wild ideas
Students Need to:
•Trust adults
Adults Need to:
•REIMAGINE what we value in humanity and school
•Model and Earn Trust, Love, Respect
All humans want to:
Feel a sense of BELONGING & BECOMING
Thousands of Post-Its and hours of
brainstorming later, crazy ideas came and
went. Some landed, stuck and inspired.
Create Catalyst Profiles as Resources for Students to
Help Them Solve Dilemmas
We built prototypes to test assumptions so
WE COULD LEARN MORE about our users.
We opened “Pop-Up” schools and workshops all over the Bay
Area lasting two hours to two days.
We built experiences, curricula, games, roles, rituals, culture,
you name it.
prototype solutions
feedback to improve
The Challenge!
In one hour, in teams of three design a “classroom”
that builds from each others’ skills, strengths and
story to help achieve all your goals!!
We tested, refined, tested again, reflected,
refined again and reflected, and…..
Prototyping and Testing became a combined disposition, not
simply modal means to a problem needing to be solved.
An this is really what it felt like. All the time.
Opportunities Missed
even for students that are “good” at school
Here’s what happened through this work
(three year’s worth):
We away moved from the traditional high school outcome, the
“i-shaped” student. This student is created by a system that
was designed to manage human capacity to fulfill the needs of
the Industrial Revolution. Within this traditional “i” producing
model, methods of valuing learning and “smart” or
“successful” focuses on what it can see or is trained to see—
the left hemisphere of the brain. These methods, still used
today but with greater technology and attention toward data,
focus on the achievement gap.
There is a larger issue. The opportunity gap…..
student capacity
teacher’s role and ritual
content discovery and practice
the outcome and purpose of high school
Through our deep design thinking work we
discovered that in order inspire humanity and
create opportunities of belonging and
becoming, we had to design for the whole
human, not just the left hemisphere of the
human brain.
We call this human-centered learner, the “X-shaped”
student. DSX has designed systems and structures to bring
out the Story, Strengths deep within each student to allow
them the confidence to develop new skills and locate and
nurture their deep sense of Purpose. The X is structurally
stronger, more nimble has more opportunities to connect
others—ultimately creating a net or a rhizome.
Student capacity is about what you bring to the learning
environment, not what you don’t know.
And if teaching and learning are no longer simply about
content, but about agency of learning, agility and
adaptability through failure and problems, thinking and
acting creatively, and have complex cultural competency,
then you have to redesign everything else: teacher, teaching,
tools, context and time.
[ ]
+ rr
(SX + CX) + PX
Belonging + Becoming =
This is the DSX equation for Belonging and
Becoming that can be applied and explored in
any community in which it is tested.
It’s an equation that inspires and builds the X in all of us!
SX = Student
CX = Teacher (aka Catalyst)
PX = Program
X7 = Core Values
rr = Roles and Rituals of all stakeholders
rectangle = Space
t = Time
m = School Mission
How did we begin to approach the schedule
We looked at our 7 Values—Love, Optimism, Creativity,
Equity, Trust, Purpose, and Build
We named our 6 Outcomes—Creativity, Collaboration,
Cultural Competency, Critical Thinking, Co-Construction,
We named our Constraints—X-Student needs, X-Teacher
needs, X-Program needs (including, but not limited to,
content which includes UC a-g req’s), Assets/Deficits (legacy
pedagogy-baggage) of our teachersWith that, we created
these pillars to create a sense of belonging and becoming.
Rooted in equity and creativity, filled with love and optimism,
DSX builds trust and purpose in our students with a program
that inspires humanity from human capacity.
Our students' stories and skills, whether from the heartland or the hills,
aren't just welcomed--they're vital to the success of the school. Our
students will thrive side by side locating and designing their purpose.
We (re)defined our students, their needs, and
how we can build from with, and for them.
Our students' stories and skills, whether from the heartland
or the hills, aren't just welcomed--they're vital to the
success of the school. Our students will thrive side by side
locating and designing their purpose.
healthy -> designers -> collaborators -> mentors
Our teachers are seen as learning experience designers, masters in their craft,
grounded in their hearts and act as catalysts collaborating in healthy teams to
design curriculum with the students igniting creativity, passion and purpose.
If you redesign how you see and build
students, then have to redesign the teachers
and how they teach and see themselves.
We empathized with teachers, designers, physicians what they
needed to do their job well.
What emerged across the board—SELF CARE, TIME TO
DESIGN AND THEN TIME TO GIVE to OTHERS (students, clients,
Our teachers are catalysts of the passion and purpose within
each of our students.
They are healthy, whole, impassioned, paid well. The schedule
was designed to support this.
Our program is purpose-driven, not just academic driven, because students
invest in their own learning when the curriculum is relevant to their own lives.
Students will build their purpose by practicing the purpose of math, science,
history and language arts within irresistible learning experiences no student
would cut school to miss.
Experience Character
If you redesign the student and the teacher,
their needs in the new context of 2016 and an
unknown future, then you need to redesign
Our program will prepare DSX students to flourish on any
path they choose.
For Maths, in particular, DSX sees the learning of
mathematics like learning of a foreign language with
emphasis on communication through skills in reading,
writing, listening and speaking
Designers have analyzed and organized common core math
standards to help navigate the future of integrative and
meaningful math education
I like to read and draw as well as learn about various pro-
pulsion methods for vehicles such as electric, hydrogen fuel
cell and turbine engines. I enjoy doing these thing because
they are my passions.
Another thing I enjoy doing is building. In 6th grade I dis-
mantled my bunk bed to make a catapult. I had no idea how
to make a catapult but it turned out pretty good. at was
when I gured out that I love to build stu.
You oen feel “when can we start?” is a recurring question
in your life., “Wouldn’t it be great if …e future fascinates
you., You collect information – words, facts, books and
quotations., You like to think. You like mental activity., You
love to solve problems.
If I could teach in a school I would teach alternative fuel
sources because we are ruining the earth at our own ex-
pense. I would teach this by having the students design a
vehicle that would run on a alternative fuel source. e fuel
source would depend on what type of vehicle it would be
used in.
running my own company, running a design lab, building
What I enjoy doing best is...? My strengths are...
What would you teach in school and how would you do
I see myself...
Living Learning Portfolio: X = YOU
If you redesign the student, teacher and
program, the you need to redesign what, how
and why you assess within the program.
Here is a prototype of a student’s Living Learning Portfolio
(LLP) and how it connects with our Learning Partners and a
student’s four year (and beyond) scope and sequence. A
student’s LLP grows with them and is engaged even when not
in school, so they see the whole world as their learning
landscape much like a skater does.
At key points during students' work days, they are prompted
to "check in” on their mobile devices to document their
progress, observations, and questions, and to initiate
assessments. The assessments are tailored to each student’s
individual course of study, and may draw from a mix of free
response and multiple choice questions, as well as questions
that allow for images, or video and audio recordings as
In addition to the quantitative benchmarking that results from
the assessments and is shared with the students' teachers,
advisors and parents, our assessment model also collects
qualitative feedback from students so that advisors get real
time feedback on student engagement.
Map of first year
Due to its values of equity, health and
community, DSX had no choice but to
abandon the hundred year-old-inspired-by-
an-agrarian-time traditional schedule.
A year-round is promotes a more balanced and sustainable
learning life AND allows for consistent relationships with our
learning partners and communities who don’t operate on an
academic schedule.
X-Shaped Schedule
Again, a school’s schedule is the
manifestation of its values, goals and skillset.
DSX values equity, love, flexibility, health, innovation,
community & craftsmanship.
Here, our students work 50% on the particular project to
make meaning of content and 50% learning deeply the topics
at hand.
Practice methods: DT, Scientific, critical inquiry/research,
Practice methods: design thinking, scientific method, critical
inquiry/research, Building, Storytelling, etc.
Weekly schedule shows minimum day in the
middle of the week to allow for practice in the
3 hrs/day academic intake
2.5 hrs/day practice skills
1.5 hours/day time for chilling and relationships
Q1 Themes for practicing C6—Water Justice and
Q1 Themes for Practicing C6—Belief and Age
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
“Four Years” @DSX
Storytelling (UC b. and e.)
Science (UC d.)
Cultural Comp./Character (DSX)
History (UC a.)
Tech (UC g.)
Engineering (UC c.,d.,f.)
Arts (UC f.)
Maths (UC c.)
Self-Awareness (DSX)
Apply skills to
home &
Build shared
Systems thinking
Financial Literacy
Refine portfolio
Apply to College
“SSCHTEAMS” is meant to be a tongue-in-
cheeck teasing of trending acronyms or
initiatives in schools.
That being said, this was a way for DSX to articulate how
and where the UC a-g’s are being met as simply a
substrate and where we exceed their requirements due to
our integrated program
The last year of DSX high school was, again, inspired by
empathy work. Students of that age, 17-19, are ready to
explore their world and test their learned skills.
DSX allows for that time; and yet, requires them to return
to share their tales of testing their early adult prototype
our classroom
Our classrooms will be fluid and flexible. Every
space will be a makerspace to build community,
empathy & awesome things. DSX will expand
from the streets of Oakland to Stanford & from
Silicon Valley to Senegal.
And lastly, if you redesign, roles, rituals, time
and purpose of high school, you need to
redesign the learning context….
That’s a whole other presentation….
a state of the art education utilizing your cultural capital and those of
others, online resources, your community, our facilities and our world
access to our network of artists, entrepreneurs, social justice/ equity
leaders, politicians, designers, academics, hustlers, investors, athletes from
the streets to Silicon Valley
an innovative and equitable learning environment where you
feel courageous to learn and become your possible self, not one ascribed
by others
a flexible program that takes the UC a-g requirements, Common Core
Standards, Next Gen Science Standards and injects innovation, making,
critical pedagogy, systems thinking, and well beyond
a program sought after by businesses, colleges, and
communities around the globe.
Because of
The World
Will Get
Who Are….
better equipped to not just get in to college, but
thrive through college,
innovative thinkers and doers,
financially literate,
empathetic through difficult conversations,
navigators during ethical dilemmas facing our
time with creativity, cultural competency &
able to bring the best out of every person on a
able to make healthy decisions of thought, speech
and action,
mission driven, not just money or major driven
skilled in the head, heart and hands,
aware of all they bring to any context,
grounded in their authentic story,
Anything you need, just reach out
to me at the K12Lab:
David Cli!ord
Senior Learning Experience Designer, K12Lab Network
Founder, design school, X (DSX)
Credit needs to be given to Corrina Hui
(@corrhui), math teacher at the East Bay School
for Boys for working closely with me in
translating user needs into the DSX schedule.
X is structurally stronger than an i