Making District C

We built District C by researching, doing, learning, adapting, and doing again. We spent a total of 18 months designing and testing our program.

We researched labor trends and interviewed employers to better understand the demands of the current and future workplace. We learned that above all else, employers will need people who know how to work together to solve hard problems. We then set out to design a real-work learning experience that would teach high school students to do just that.

We ran 7 cycles of our program with 27 teams of students. We spent hundreds of hours working directly with over 100 students to understand their orientation to the work, discover gaps in their thinking and skills, and develop our coaching method and philosophy. Along the way, we threw out the stuff that didn't work, and doubled down on the stuff that did. 

We experimented with different program lengths -- short-form and long-form -- to test the viability of different implementations. We took note of the tradeoffs, and made adjustments on the fly. 

We recruited a cohort of coaches to test our assumptions about how to train other adults to do this work. Through this process we developed our Coaching Institute model. 

We established relationships with over 25 community partners -- schools, businesses, innovation hubs, funders, and higher ed institutions -- to prove that we could build and maintain the ecosystem of partners needed to support this work. Through these partnerships, we created a new conception of the “school district,” one that supports unique and powerful real-work experiences beyond the walls of the school.

We've learned a lot, but we're still making District C. Even as we work to expand access to more schools and students, we will continue to run R&D versions of our program with the hope of finding that next insight into how to better prepare our students for their futures. 

Thanks for joining us on the journey. 

Anne & Dan