Redesign High School

We've been meeting with a small group of high school students to get their thoughts on the ideal school design and feedback on The Puzzle School design.

The Goal

A primary goal of The Puzzle School is to put students at the center and give them greater ownership of their environment and their learning. So these discussions started out primarily as a way for us to get feedback about The Puzzle School design.

The students we have been working with, though, have shown a great deal of interest in reflecting on their own educational experiences in search of a more effective school design.

As such we've had a wide range of discussions around:

  • Their experiences progressing through various schools
  • How they might handle publicly racist/sexist/etc actions in the school community.
  • What the ideal school schedule might be.
  • What subjects should be required.
  • How they are approaching getting into college and how that affects their school experience.
  • What great teaching looks like.
  • What they would want to explore if they were to engage in an independent project of their own design.
The Process

As our discussions progressed it became clear that many of the challenges the students saw in their educational experiences were not easily solved.

This level of reflection has some significant benefits:

  1. Students have an opportunity to develop their observational skills, their ability to articulate those observations, and their ability to empathize with the teachers and administrators at their school.
  2. As students recognize the complexity of the situation then often come to appreciate how hard everyone in the school is trying and may come to appreciate more what their school is doing for them.
Moving Forward

As The Puzzle School exploration progresses we hope to continue to get feedback directly from students. Eventually we will form a student advisory board, ideally consisting of students that will attend The Puzzle School.

Once The Puzzle School exists these discussions will become regular practice as The Puzzle School continuously evolves to better meet the needs of students.


“So this was the big secret historians keep to themselves: historical research is wildly seductive and fun. There's a thrill in the process of digging, then piecing together details like a puzzle.”

~ Nancy Horan

“As a kid, I was into music, played guitar in a band. Then I started acting in plays in junior high school and just got lost in the puzzle of acting, the magic of it. I think it was an escape for me.”

~ Michael J. Fox

“When you write non-fiction, you sit down at your desk with a pile of notebooks, newspaper clippings, and books and you research and put a book together the way you would a jigsaw puzzle.”

~ Janine di Giovanni

“I tell people all the time, as I was going through my process of being a comedian or being an actor and a writer at 'SNL,' I tell people that everything you do is all a piece of your puzzle to determine where you're going to end up at.”

~ J. B. Smoove

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