PL_State Landscape_CO SpaceLab_Featured Case Study Pt 1

Leveraging Design Thinking to Advance Change for Trailblazer Elementary School 

Ann Yenne, a veteran teacher at Trailblazer Elementary School in Colorado Springs, wants to do well by her students—all of her students.

Yenne works hard to create a classroom that fosters engagement and a love of learning, but she often finds herself in a game of tug-of-war. When it comes to students with disabilities and other struggling learners in her classroom, she feels like she’s dragging them into learning rather than inspiring them to drive the learning process. She has struggled with an issue of mindset: How do you design systems that work for all students, especially for those who have varied learning needs? And how do adults think about what students can and can’t do?

The Colorado Education Initiative (CEI)—one of Yenne’s partner organizations in this work—struggles with a related issue: How do you obtain buy-in and help develop a mindset of full inclusion and continuous learning within partner schools and districts?

The Vision: All students will develop five competencies—academic, professional, entrepreneurial, personal, and civic—that are essential to future success.

The Strategy: The SpaceLab project infuses design thinking into the practices of Next Generation Learning and CEI’s other initiatives. In design thinking, leaders and practitioners collaboratively brainstorm and build solutions that are tailored to improve the outcomes and experiences of each student in every classroom.