Beavercreek City School District

Inspiring Today, Preparing For Tomorrow

Beavercreek Schools' Second Round Straight A Grant award
Providing 8th - 12th grade students with 21st Century learning skills 
through investigative learning and entrepreneurship
An interview with Susan Hayward, Ph.D., Beavercreek City Schools Assistant Superintendent 
Q:  How is the second Straight A grant being used?

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. 

Students are taught a process for assessing and defining a problem, and learn to apply relevant knowledge to produce a range of solutions.  They create, test and refine prototypes, using a hands-on methodology that encourages deeper understanding of subject matter -- one that encourages students to think about issues from multiple perspectives.  This sort of approach to learning is aligned with the skills that are currently in demand in the workplace.

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.

Q:  Why is this grant important to the schools?

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.

More details about Beavercreek's second round Straight A grant can be found below:  

Classrooms Transformed into Design Thinking Labs

In the fall of 2014, work began to transform four classrooms into Design Thinking Labs (D-Labs) at Beavercreek High School, Ferguson Hall, and Coy and Ankeney middle schools. Built using funds from the district’s $995,000 Straight A Fund grant, the four D-Labs will be at the core of a new approach to education and career readiness the district is implementing in grades 8-12. Called Design Thinking, the approach will prompt students to solve real human needs using techniques that will give them an edge in college and the workplace. The approach will be embedded in science and social studies courses and in four electives for students in grades 8-12.
Click here to see construction of the district's D-Labs and how staff and students prepared to use them. 

D-Labs featured to national television audience

Beavercreek City Schools were featured to a national television audience because of the district's D-Labs and commitment to 21st century learning. In View Hosted by Larry King, a nationally syndicated show dedicated to quality educational programming, recognized Beavercreek City Schools is a leader in using innovation to educate our students.
Click here to view the full broadcast of In View Hosted by Larry King that features Beavercreek City Schools. 
In View