Menlo Park City School students apply a powerful design-thinking mindset everyday—now parents (and residents) get their turn

by Contributed Content on November 2, 2014

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The Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation (MPAEF) invites Menlo Park City School District (MPCSD) parents and local residents to attend a panel discussion this Wednesday, November 5, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Hillview Middle School’s Performing Arts Center, 1100 Elder Avenue, Menlo Park. The discussion explores how a design-thinking mindset has the powerful potential to change many aspects of our lives, including the personal, emotional, and academic lives of our children.

Working closely with Hillview Principal Erik Burmeister (pictured), the MPAEF has assembled a panel of leading Silicon Valley design-thinking influencers who have supported the District’s journey to help its educators instill a design-thinking mindset that can add value to our children’s educational experience and the future of education here in Menlo Park.

“This way of innovative problem-solving is seeping into every part of our schools and into the way our children are learning,” said Kristin Seuell, MPAEF co-president. “It’s powerful that school administrators, principals, teachers, and students are all embracing this mindset. As parents, now it’s our turn to get educated.”

Since 2012, the MPCSD’s administration has collaborated with design thinking leaders, including David Kelley, founder of Palo Alto-based IDEO and professor at Stanford’s d.school, and the following event panelists:

• Erik Burmeister, Principal of Hillview Middle School and Lead of MPCSD Design efforts
• Leah Kessler, Vice Principal of Oak Knoll and experienced design thinker and educator
• Guido Kovalskys, Founder and Co-CEO of Nearpod and Fellow in the K12 Lab at Stanford’s famed d.school
• Branko Lukic, Founder of Nonobject, the award-winning design firm in Palo Alto, author of design book by the same name, and MPCSD parent of kids at Encinal and Hillview
• Suzanne Pellican, Chief Design Strategist at Intuit and Intuit’s former Director of “Design for Delight and Innovation Catalysts” and MPCSD Laurel parent
• Lisa Solomon, Lecturer on “Innovation” at California College of the Arts in an MBA in Design Strategy program and best-selling author of Moments of Impact

The panel discussion will be moderated by MPCSD Superintendent Maurice Ghysels who commented: “Now that our students are modeling design-thinking principles in the classroom, at the grade level, and school-wide, it’s fantastic that the MPAEF has created this event so that MPCSD parents can learn how to apply it to their personal lives.”

“Embracing a design-thinking mindset has powerful potential to help us adults in our everyday lives as parents, career professionals, and in our relationships with family, friends, and peers,” said Hillview Principal Burmeister. “This practice and its principles pertain to personal goal-setting, family connections, and career development as much as it does to our students’ experiences in the classroom.”

Panelists will discuss the key pillars of design thinking and illustrate how students at the three elementary schools (Encinal, Laurel, and Oak Knoll ) and Hillview Middle School experience these principles and how they extend and apply to areas of our every day.

Principal Burmeister will also share results of a recent Stanford University research study, which took place at Hillview last year, about design thinking and its impact on student learning.

All MPCSD families and Menlo Park and Atherton residents are encouraged to attend the free event, however space is limited. Register here. For more information please call (650) 325-0100. Light refreshments will be served.

The MPAEF’s Annual Parent Campaign is currently underway. The goal is to grant $3.6 million to the Menlo Park City School District, a community-funded school district, to help fund classroom teachers, credentialed teaching specialists in art, music and library, middle school electives, technology initiatives and much more. To pledge or donate, please visit www.mpaef.org.

Photo by Irene Searles

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