Construct Continues School Retool, Teaching Oregon Principals How To Hack Their Schools for Deeper Learning

On January 25, 2018, 20 Central Oregon public school administrators--selected as the next set of School Retool Fellows--will learn techniques to “hack” new ideas and solutions for their schools. The middle- and high school principals and vice principals, represented in this second Oregon cohort of the School Retool program hail from four unique school districts across the region: Culver, Redmond, Crook County, and Bend/LaPine.


Thanks to the leadership of the High Desert Education Service District (HDESD), this new cohort quickly filled to capacity with 20 total participants. HDESD CTE director Angie Mason-Smith, elaborates, “Many of our schools have started to do work around design thinking, this program will give them the tool kit they need to start working toward their goals and push for deeper learning in their schools. The region is excited about this opportunity, not only for the professional development but creating cohorts or collaboration groups to continue this work moving forward.” 

Designed in partnership by Stanford University’s d. School K12 Lab and design firm IDEO, and based on research by the Hewlett Foundation, School Retool is a three-month professional development fellowship that helps school leaders to redesign their school cultures to foster innovation in teaching and learning. It addresses challenges principals face modernizing educational models to keep pace with the demands of a rapidly changing world. Principals and school leaders engage in a collaborative series of workshops and “hack” cycles within their schools that create and celebrate opportunities for Deeper Learning -- a set of six research-supported competencies that directly benefit students by putting them at the center of the work. School Retool cohorts are active in Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Idaho, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oakland, Ohio, Oregon, Puget Sound, Rhode Island, San Diego, San Francisco, Sonoma County, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Western Pennsylvania.    




School Retool is a critical building block in Construct's piece of Innovate Initiatives, a series of integrated programs, building one on the other, that expand the capacity for creativity and innovation in schools. Allowing educators and school leaders to practice new mindsets and behaviors, working across regions and creating supportive new peer groups--these steps are helping Oregon school communities to realize a tangible path toward 21st-century success for all our students." said Gina Condon, founder of Construct Foundation.

Construct Foundation, participating school districts, and the HDESD combined resources to bring School Retool to serve these education leaders in Oregon, with Construct subsidizing participation costs. Both HDESD and  Innovate Oregon helped ignite interest in potential Central Oregon administrators and schools. 

Construct is part of a three-year onboarding program offered by Stanford, for local partners who are looking to convene School Retool in their state.  Stanford will be engaged throughout this onboarding process, ensuring ongoing training and fidelity measures are being met or exceeded.

The Future of Learning - Breaker 2017 Summer Design Challenge

Construct Foundation and its’ partners—Concordia University, Oregon Community Foundation, and Ken and Marta Thrasher, along with our thought leader, the Oregon Business Council—are pleased to present The Future of Learning. As always, we are grateful for the opportunity to work with College Possible in support of recruiting diverse students.

This short film provides a look at Construct’s Breaker summer 2017 design challenge where we tasked high school students with answering the question:

“How might we build bridges between school and work by re-imagining where and how we learn?”

After two weeks working alongside experts, mentors, and with the generous contributions of members of the unique learning eco-system assembled for this challenge, these amazing students dazzled industry and education leaders with smart, thoughtful, and innovative solutions to this complex real-world problem.  Click here for details on the 10 day challenge and the final product solutions.

Construct is following-up this impressive effort with an intentional, new, next step in the process—a Phase II opportunity where our high-schoolers will be moving one of their creative design solutions for the Future of Learning from prototype to product.  

Thanks to all our supporters and partners, Construct has had a tremendously busy 2017.  Besides the Breaker summer high-school challenge: we launched our first in-school Breaker effort for elementary students; hosted a social justice challenge at Concordia University; facilitated a pilot cohort of School Retool--a change framework program from Stanford’s K-12 lab--for Oregon principals from the mid-valley and metro regions; and we brought Breaker teacher training to Yamhill County.  

The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Ford Family Foundation, and Oregon Community Foundation provided invaluable guidance, support, and resources to our work this year.

Next year will bring even greater outcomes.  We’re hiring a Director of Programs; expanding our partnership with Innovate Oregon with whom we are presenting at an innovation summit for the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators for an anticipated 500 school leaders; our second School Retool effort will launch in Central Oregon; and we’re continuing deeper learning programming work in Newberg, Willamina, and at Centennial High School.

Stay tuned for the next chapter of Construct.  It’s gonna be a doozy!

Teenagers Model Business, Achieve Ugly Success

Who says teenagers are too young to learn entrepreneurship basics?

Here in Portland Oregon, a group of high school students used business modeling to achieve what can only be described as an ugly success.

The teens participated in a “Future of Food” design challenge sponsored by Portland education incubator Construct Foundation.

Their task: 1) research food-related business ideas, 2) test their findings through interviews with farmers, producers, distributors, and food entrepreneurs, 3) build and verify prototypes, then 4) pitch the resulting business models to an audience of food industry experts, entrepreneurs, and investors. 

Breaker Design Challenge: The Future of Livable Cities - Week 1 Recap

Monday, August 8th, launched our third consecutive student design challenge with Project Breaker: The Future of Livable Cities. Gathering students from David Douglas,  Franklin, James Madison and Gresham high schools, were welcomed to their home base at Portland State University’s Center for Professional and Executive Education. Breaker Facilitators, Amy Lauren Botula and Stephanie Nudelman, led ice-breakers to introduce students to each other and delivered the question central to the challenge:

How might we plan for and design eco-friendly neighborhoods to maximize the quality of life for Portland residents of varying cultures and income levels? 

What does KairosPDX Co-Founder have to say about Construct?

"Construct Foundation believes in a child-centered approach to education that draws from the leading research about how children learn best. This belief coupled with a strategic three-year investment in KairosPDX has made room for us to develop a transformative model for historically underserved kids that lays the foundation for closing systemic opportunity and achievement gaps. We are thrilled to have Construct's investment of resources and ideas to make sure our model is ahead of the curve. "

- Kali Thorne, ED and Co-Founder KairosPDX