A: Our grant of $995,000 was used to transform 8th through 12th grade instruction -- adopting a dynamic educational model that meets modern-day workplace needs and provides students with skills they can apply in college and careers. This model is based on a different way of teaching and learning called "design thinking" that integrates investigative experiences to foster collaboration, creative and analytical thinking, problem solving, research skills and effective communication.
Q: What is "design thinking," and why is it important?
A: Design thinking is an interdisciplinary approach that promotes investigative learning across all subjects and content areas, from core courses to electives.
Q: What is the goal of this grant?
A: Our goal is to prepare Beavercreek's students with the knowledge and skills they need to flourish in college and the 21st century workplace. We believe that the plan we put forth -- which focuses on investigative learning across all subjects -- offers the framework that will make this happen. It will help students become more engaged in their studies and better understand the processes used for problem solving in the workplace. We also believe that our plan is not only sustainable over time, but can be replicated by school districts elsewhere.
Q: Why is it important to start this sort of instruction now, as opposed to just before students graduate from high school?
A: Research has shown that students benefit from the investigative learning and entrepreneurial approach to education, both in terms of both engagement and achievement. By targeting learners as young as eighth grade, we help them become accustomed to the inquiry-based approach they will encounter in college and careers. This provides them with a stronger foundation and skills base when they graduate from high school.
Q: Why are you focusing on high school students with this grant?
A: Our district conducted research with businesses, institutes of higher education and even the community, and asked them what knowledge, skills and abilities were most important for success in the 21st century. Their feedback helped guide our proposal.
Q: When was this grant implemented?
A: We began training our instructional personnel in design thinking methodology at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. We also remodeled specific locations in our secondary buildings to create the kind of specialized learning spaces we need to support our efforts.
A: This grant provides our district with the funds needed to undertake an effort that is truly innovative -- one that allows us to enhance our instructional practices and offer a dynamic educational model focused on investigative learning and entrepreneurship. The funds allow us to partner with the Experience Institute to train our instructional staff, and also provides monies we need to redesign 8th through 12th grade workspaces to allow for more collaborative learning and concept testing.