Design Thinking at WFS

Homecoming Forum: Design Thinking at WFS

Saturday, October 30, 2021
Global Learning Center and Zoom
Register here 

Please join us for an interactive discussion centered around Design Thinking with Head of Lower School Julie Rodowsky and Assistant Head of Lower School Chris Loeffler ’00

The design thinking approach has given us a framework to reconsider problem-solving on many levels at WFS. This ranges from student-centered projects to family and teacher connections, from individual student support to envisioning future programming for the school community. 
Since the first group of educators attended the Design Thinking Workshop with the Henry Ford Learning Institute:
  • The faculty has adopted a school-wide Sunshine Committee to build community across divisions.
  • The Board of Trustees created a program to foster more relationships between individual faculty/staff and Board members, with the goal of learning more about the teaching experience at WFS.
  • The lower school redesigned Back to School Night to share key information and develop a stronger teacher-family connection.
  • The middle school has created annual sixth and seventh-grade Design Thinking projects titled, "That's not fair!" and "The Waste Not Project."
During the discussion, participants can expect to learn the following:
  • How you can use the basics of the design thinking cycle and how you can use each element in daily challenges.
  • Why empathy is at the heart of meaningful problem-solving.
  • How to define a problem to make sure any solution addresses the most critical needs and utilizes unique insights.
  • The importance of a prototype mindset
We hope you will join us for this interesting and interactive discussion!
Julie Rodowsky has been the Head of Lower School since 2017. She started her career at Friends in 2002 and was a classroom teacher in kindergarten, first and second grades before moving into the position of Assistant Head of Lower School in 2013. Julie believes in the value of "leading from where you are," and is excited to be in a community that is always growing and always learning. She has participated in several Design Thinking initiatives at Friends, as both a co-leader and participant.
Chris Loeffler '00 - is in his fifth year as Assistant Head of Lower School, after spending 12 years as a classroom teacher in 3rd and 5th grades. Chris believes in the value of creativity and collaboration in learning and has continued to seek out innovative teaching methods that can help students stretch themselves and find their voice. He initiated the Design Thinking teams that attended workshops starting in the summer of 2017 and continues to connect with teachers implementing designing thinking elements into their classrooms.