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, 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
• 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

Photo by Irene Searles

{ Be the first to comment }

Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation grants $3.6 million to school district

At Tuesday night’s board meeting of the Menlo Park City School District (MPCSD), excited students from Encinal, Laurel, Oak Knoll, and Hillview presented a symbolic $3.6 million check to the school board, which passed a resolution to accept the grant. The grant from the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation (MPAEF) will become a crucial part of […]

Click to read more →

Shop the MPAEF Chic Boutique at Allied Arts on Friday to support local schools

Tonight kicked off the MPAEF’s annual holiday boutique, this year appropriately dubbed the Chic Boutique with its smart and stylish gifts for all ages and budgets. Twenty local vendors including many InMenlo favorites are featured at the boutique, which continues until 2:30 pm tomorrow and is free and open to the community. The fourth annual […]

Click to read more →

MPAEF grants record $3.6 million to Menlo Park City School District

This week’s MPCSD School Board meeting had a full agenda, but one of the highlights was surely the presentation of a giant check—both in size and dollar amount—from smiling students. The kids delivered the check to the School Board and Superintendent Maurice Ghysels on behalf of the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation (MPAEF). The grant has […]

Click to read more →

Schools earn $50,000 from MPAEF’s Participation Challenge grant with 83% of families contributing

After a month of tireless activity by parents, teachers, principals, and students, the good news came this morning: Menlo Park’s schools would receive a $50,000 challenge grant from an anonymous, local donor. The Participation Challenge sought to increase the number of families in the Menlo Park City School District that supported its four schools through […]

Click to read more →

Get a head start on shopping at the MPAEF Holiday Boutique at Allied Arts in Menlo Park

Two dozen local vendors, including Menlo Park’s Wrap It Up, which sells holiday aprons and other handcrafted wares, are taking part in the MPAEF Holiday Boutique, which continues until 2:30 pm today at Allied Arts and is free and open to the community. (Pictured above is Wrap It Up owner Kim Salkind and daughter Hannah […]

Click to read more →

Are You In? day at local schools celebrates community support for public education

Forget the blue and green. Yesterday, everyone’s school color at Laurel, Encinal, Oak Knoll, and Hillview was orange—and more orange!  The occasion? The Menlo Park City School District’s (MPCSD) annual Are You In? Day. Students, like those at Oak Knoll (above), reminded everyone how vital it is for parents and the broader community to support […]

Click to read more →

Bond Girls on hand at Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation fundraising party

Last night, one West Menlo home was transformed in to all things Bond — James Bond, that is. And, of course, there were Bond Girls representing all the different 007 movies, including (from left to right) Julie Carr, Janet Falkner, Janelle Sanford, and Julianne Ohtaki. The theme party was one of several events going on this […]

Click to read more →

New banner asks community: “Are You In” for Menlo Park’s public schools?

Driving down Santa Cruz Ave. near El Camino, it’s hard not to miss the eye-catching, orange banner that went up today. It’s all part of the joint fundraising campaign by the Parent Teacher Organizations (PTOs) from Laurel, Encinal, Oak Knoll, and Hillview schools and the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation (MPAEF). The effort — known as […]

Click to read more →

Oak Knoll families enjoy Kennolyn Camp while raising money for Menlo Park’s schools

Like most parents with children in public school, Menlo Park residents Pam and Joe Nootbaar were looking for ways to support their childrens’ education in a time of shrinking budgets. Working together with the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation (MPAEF), they found a way to use Pam’s family business to raise $25,000 for local schools. Pam’s […]

Click to read more →

Menlo Park schools ask: “Are You In?” Joint PTO–MPAEF fundraising campaign ends today

Students, teachers, parents, and school supporters of all kinds — including the Encinal Eagle — were a visible presence yesterday on campuses across Menlo Park. It was a sea of orange, from posters and t-shirts to wristbands and car decals. The occasion marked the conclusion of an ambitious month-long fundraising campaign that is the first […]

Click to read more →