St. Martin’s Episcopal School (LA) - Design Thinking

St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie, Louisiana, received a $50,000 E. E. Ford grant, with a $50,000 matching component, to take its Design Thinking program on the road, working with schools and community groups across the Metro New Orleans area to create relevant learning environments through the Design Thinking process. The grant supports acquisition of a vehicle that will be customized as a Mobile Design Lab – a classroom without borders – equipped as a multipurpose design studio, prototyping lab and classroom.

The project will offer both teachers and students across the community opportunities to learn and use the Design Thinking process:

  • By bringing skill-based professional development to teachers and community-based practitioners, St. Martin’s will foster a broad and deep commitment across the local education sector to shifting the role of teacher from provider of information/content to designer of relevant learning environments.
  • Students in multiple settings will engage in project-based learning to solve real-world problems and to master the skills they need to be successful in a world yet to be imagined – skills like collaboration, respect for complexity and diverse viewpoints, flexibility, risk-taking and observing/analyzing.
  • St. Martin’s students, who will participate in the Mobile Lab projects as both facilitators and co-learners, will extend further their understanding of the profound impact of Design Thinking in increasingly complex and diverse settings. The mission of St. Martin’s Episcopal School is to prepare students to thrive in college and life through faith, scholarship and service. The school was founded in 1947 as a co-educational, independent school. It now pursues its mission in innovative, joyful and rigorous learning environments with a diverse community of children and youth from 8 weeks through twelfth grade. The implementation of a Design Thinking model across the school curriculum and in its pedagogy is a strategic vision of the school. Construction has begun on campus of the Gibbs Family Center for Innovation and Design. A three-person team of professionals steers the Design Thinking work with school leaders and instructors at all levels of the school. The E. E. Ford grant has built the capacity of St. Martin’s to move its vision into the larger community for increased impact.