SDP Spotlight: Opportunities with Time

Today’s post is guest authored by Clariza Dominicci, Principal of Marvin Camras Children’s Engineering School.

I have been the proud principal of Marvin Camras Children’s Engineering School since 2013. In my time here, I have worked with my staff to develop the Engineering program with an end goal of having a world-class program that raises all of our students to proficiency.

In 2016, I compiled a small team to participate in The Fund’s Summer Design Program (SDP). One of our goals entering SDP was to create a school-wide enrichment and intervention block for our students. We wanted to provide our students with time every day to meet them where they are academically and socially.

With a solid plan in place, we applied to join the Time track for SDP 2016. Once a part of that track, Furman Brown from Sensible Innovation helped us think about how to best scale down the grand plan to more actionable steps.

To make this goal a reality, we worked closely with our school community to better understand our needs. Using the design-thinking method – which calls on you to approach difficult challenges by asking “how might we?” – really helped our team establish a growth mindset.

The tools provided by Sensible Innovation also helped us visualize the changes we were making to our schedule and understand the impact and opportunities we had with time.

As a result of the work we did during the SDP, we launched a pilot intervention block for 5th and 6th graders this year. During this period, students are able to participate in one of a series of opportunities, ranging from skill-building to exploring new topics like robotics, engineering careers or a future-cities competition. In addition, we applied the same design tools to help us improve our recess program where students in 5-8 grade select and direct themselves to one of the activities throughout the building.

Based on initial success with the pilot program, we are going to continue to expand this pilot to allow for more students to explore topics they are passionate about. I’m so grateful we had this opportunity.

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