One of the district's core values is around being student-centered. In order to live out this value, I have asked everyone on the district leadership team to shadow a student with the intent of understanding a day in the life of an Alexandria student. School leaders make decisions every day that affect the educational experiences of students, which has made me, ponder; do we really know what their experience is like on a day-to-day basis? Are we making the best decisions possible if we don't truly understand what their experience is like?
In the spring of 2016, with direction from the Alexandria School Board, we began utilizing a design thinking process to redesign learning spaces. Design thinking in education is a mindset and an approach to learning, collaboration and problem solving. This process began with Discovery Middle School and Lincoln Elementary School, with the goals of enhancing student learning and ultimately improving student engagement.