CSI Inside

Monthly reflections from the principal and faculty

Updated Wed, Oct 16th

Design Thinking at CSI


What is design thinking?


Design thinking is a human-centered problem-solving process with an inquiry-based mindset. We engage in design thinking so we are better able to solve complex and real-world challenges and look for innovative solutions.

This nonlinear process values critical thinking and empathy, with a focus on the WHY of learning over a final product, or the WHAT. Curiosity and wonder (SEEK) are woven throughout the process which is grounded in reflection (LEARN) and storytelling (LEAD).  The goal of design thinking is problem-focused, rather than project focused.


What does design thinking look like at CSI?

We seek to understand:

Students engage in each component of the Design Thinking process. For example, when focusing on empathy, students engage in needfinding through curious questioning and seek to  understand through multiple perspectives. Exploring different components of the design thinking cycle introduces students to new mindsets and strategies without being confined to a single answer, solution, or end product.


We learn for a purpose:

Our goal is to balance and blend grade-level standards with current needs and challenges in our changing world. After engaging in needfinding and research, students design potential solutions to authentic problems. This builds a greater understanding of the world around us, connecting school to the real world in a meaningful way.


We are learning to lead:

Students take action to innovate, inspire, and create change. Some experiences lead to opportunities for students to interact and have impact on their community. From writing thank-you letters to our neighbors during our school construction to partnering with our local library to design innovative spaces, our students are beginning to see learning through a new lens and see themselves as contributors to their world.

Updated Sun, Sep 9th
Updated Tue, Jun 26th

As our school buildings are forming from the ground up, the people who will fill them are laying a solid foundation for dynamic teaching, learning and family engagement at Campbell School of Innovation.

school buildings under construction

In a rather noisy production, demolition began in December 2017, and by early May 2018 cement trucks and huge cranes were rolling onto campus to set new CSI buildings on their foundations. Much groundwork has been laid over the past six months, preparing foundations and getting all of the invisible pieces aligned so that our buildings will be completed and ready for students. It has been nothing less than magical to see the transformation of the physical site. It seems to have happened so quickly, and as we get caught up in the beauty of the new buildings, we often overlook and forget the groundwork that came before-- which truly is the foundation for what “the new” is built upon.  

In addition to the physical foundations at CSI, we have also been building the cultural and philosophical foundation of our school. Moving from a small design team to a full staff has been a journey, and we now have our team in place.  As a “school of innovation,” we have had interesting discussions around what that means in today’s world, what that looks like in our classrooms, and how students will be prepared for an ever-changing future. Exploring new ideas as well as building upon tried and true practices have been part of our design process, and we continue to question and make changes as we go. Our growth mindset and “failing forward”  are at the forefront of our discussions and early decisions as we build upon our core values of keeping students at the center and creating authentic learning experiences.

In June, teachers completed four days of training in the areas of Design Thinking and Responsive Classroom. Later this summer, several teachers will be attending CAFE literacy training as well as a Summer Studio Design Thinking Institute, which is grounded in the Arts.  As you can see, we have a very enthusiastic group of teacher learners and leaders.

On June 11th, we held a Parent Leadership Meeting where approximately 50 parents attended! I am thrilled by the energy and talent that is evident among our Campbell School of Innovation families. We now have four committees that have begun planning for organized parent engagement at school, school events and more for our inaugral year. Please check the CSI events calendar for dates of summertime CSI family picnics and other happenings.

We feel that our foundation is strong and that it will definitely support the new ideas, new practices, and a new way of doing school.

(If you’d like to know more about educational change, watch Reinventing Education for the 21st Century, a TEDx talk from Tony Wagner.)