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Design Thinking with Parents

posted Jun 10, 2015, 11:42 AM by Jo-Ann Fox   [ updated Jun 10, 2015, 11:42 AM by Tom Borer ]

On June 3 and June 8 the Quantum Academy team met with parents at an optional meeting at the Escondido Public Library. The purpose of the meeting was to begin the discussion about how parents can be involved at Quantum Academy. During the meeting, the parents experienced part of the design thinking process.

Here is the Quantum Academy Design Thinking resource:


We began with a brief overview of the Quantum Academy vision for student learning. We discussed the importance of developing a growth mindset and what a student centered project based learning environment looks like. We reviewed these two images:

Growth Mindset:

Image from Sylvia Duckworth

School vs. Learning:
Image from Sylvia Duckworth


After discussing what learning will look like at Quantum Academy and reviewing the concepts behind the growth mindset and project based learning, we needed to define the focus. The focus that we decided on was: How might we have parent involvement while staying true to developing a growth mindset and maintaining a student centered project based learning environment?


Ideating happens in two phases, individual brainstorming and group brainstorming. Parents (and some students) began ideating on their own for 5 minutes, writing down all of their ideas onto Post It notes. After the 5 minutes were up, parents shared their ideas in small groups and grouped similar ideas together. Here are some images of their ideas:

insert images

Here is a list of common themes that came out both nights:

  • After school activities/clubs

  • Bringing in parent expertise such as coding, music, gardening, sports, cooking, etc

  • Sharing about careers

  • Book clubs

  • Helping with bringing in the arts

  • Help to build community connections

  • Fundraising and grant writing

  • Organizing a parent community such as PTA, PTSA, etc

  • Field Trips

  • Help gather materials for lessons

  • Tutoring/mentoring

  • Helping to create school traditions

  • Support book clubs

  • Learn about project based learning, growth mindset, design thinking, etc


We will continue the design thinking process to create our prototype for parent involvement based on the information we have gathered from parents (and students). The testing phase will begin next year as we continue to develop our Quantum Academy community.