Denver School of Innovation and Sustainable Design (DSISD) is an innovative competency-based school founded in 2015 with a mission to support and grow young people as future innovators and leaders. This case study provides a peek into the day-to-day experiences of students in this unique learning environment and describes the design phase, vision of the developers, challenges and next steps as the school grows.
DSISD’s competency-based curriculum allows students to move at their own pace and have many opportunities for academic choice. All experiences are designed to help students develop the qualities and competencies of innovators as well as nurture:
- Academic excellence
- Lifelong learning and citizenship
- Innovative thinking
- Transformative leadership skills
Students experience project-based learning, as well as opportunities for “anytime, anywhere” experiences for high school and college credit. Staff members provide support and guided instruction so students can learn to be self-directed learners.
This case study is an excellent example of student-centered learning in action and models all the student-centered learning principles. It can be used to share a “story” of designing and implementing a student-centered school for a variety of stakeholders. More concretely, it can provide a sample blueprint for educators and leaders developing a new school or bringing a more personalized approach to an existing one.