2011 Challenge Clients

Two Design High Schools' Approaches to Teaching and Learning

Charter High School for Architecture and Design

CHAD was launched in 1999 in collaboration with local educators as part of AIA Philadelphia’s Legacy 2000 Project, CHAD’s mission is to educate the urban poor (half its students are on welfare and 90 percent qualify for free or reduced-price lunches) and use design instruction to achieve that goal. 

Curriculum Mapping
CHAD introduces students to the design process across the school’s Curriculum exposing them to the building industry and urban planning issues, and calling attention to a set of professions they might not otherwise consider.

Assessment
CHAD's priority may be less on becoming an architect or designer than on sticking through college, a task that can seem daunting when 90 percent of CHAD’s entering ninth graders read, write, and quantify at a fifth- or sixth-grade level. It’s not just about architecture-it’s about the students’’ lives.

21st Century Skills
CHAD's mission is to use architecture and design as a mode of instruction, not just to groom architects. The majority of CHAD’s students do attend colleges that focus on architecture, design, or the arts, with 60 percent of graduates over the past five years entering the design field.

Performance Outcomes
The ACE (architecture, construction, engineering) mentorship program offers CHAD students the opportunity to become involved with the annual Spooktacular, in which young local architects and CHAD students pair up to design environments for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia patients who can’t leave the hospital on Halloween to trick-or-treat.


Da Vinci Design School

Students enrolled in Da Vinci Design are preparing for college and 21st century careers in advertising, architecture, digital media, industrial design, product design, user experience design and other jobs that call for skills in art, science and technology. Da Vinci Design engages students in a rigorous and relevant college preparatory curriculum that uses hands-on, project-based learning to give lessons real-world context and meaning. Project-based learning (PBL) is learn-by-doing curriculum that integrates core subjects with real-life problems to be solved. Core subjects include English/History, Math/Science, Humanities, and World Language. Teachers work in teams with one another to identify key California state standards and skills that need to be addressed at the grade-level. 

Curriculum Mapping
Teachers work backwards to plan their curriculum, striving to create engaging, interdisciplinary projects that center on a big idea and a real-world connection that is rigorous, relevant and meaningful to students' lives. 

Assessment
One of the most important aspects of project-based learning is a public presentation of the work created, as assessment is based on the student's ability to articulate and demonstrate the content and skills learned. Student progress is measured and assessed through traditional tests and quizzes, public presentations of learning, exhibitions, and digital portfolios. 

21st Century Skills
Students learn not only academic content but also the vital 21st century skills – including design thinking, creativity, innovation, collaboration, service, and problem-solving – they need to become the next generation of design leaders and entrepreneurs. Students work in teams to create a final product that demonstrates mastery of content standards and a demonstration of key skills. 

Performance Outcomes
Our community partners play a vital role by helping to align our projects to industry expertise and standards. Da Vinci Design has partnerships with many local design leaders, including Otis College of Art and Design, Belkin International, The Getty, Northrop Grumman, Art Center College of Design, Mattel, Gensler, and Siltanen & Partners, that offer job shadowing opportunities, internships, mentoring and project support to help students master the real-world skills and knowledge that do not appear in the California content standards.