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Design 39 Campus, San Diego, CA

Purposefully rooted in design thinking, Design 39 created a foundation where their educators, also known as “Learning Experience Designers” (LEDs), can collaborate and thrive. Design 39 believes that the future is a place they create and that they can’t do it alone. Dubbed as a magical, one-of-a-kind school experience, Design 39 focuses on the “why” for inspiration and the “how” as perspiration. Using competency-based learning, a structure of context and skills provides students and Learning Experience Designers a space that breaks down barriers and builds a culture of collaboration. Often asking “How might we…?” students and teachers focus on innovation instead of obstacles.

School Type

Charter/Magnet, Choice School

School Context



  • Outcomes: Principles include design thinking, collaboration, communication, creative confidence, inquiry and growth mindset; Connecting globally
  • Learner Experience: Personalized learning and design thinking; Content specific learning experiences; Inquiry-based learned with collaborative focus
  • Competency & Credentialing: Multi-age moments (different age children join classes when appropriate); Learner competencies; Focus on progress through metrics; Student-led conferences; Exhibitions of learning
  • Wellness: Harmony and anti-hate curriculum; Counseling center; Embedded SEL; Staff focus on self-care and life balance; Affinity groups
  • Equity: Reverse inclusion focus; Community events to celebrate cultures; Parent groups; Early literacy support; Virtual learning support for struggling students; Equity professional development
  • Professional Learning: Culture of learning; Unique hiring system focused on lifelong learners and change agents; Design thinking; Teacher-taught professional development
  • Partnerships: ‚ÄčAltitude Learning; Community organizations & businesses; Parent community (The D39C Collaborative)
  • Technology: OverDrive; Lightbox; SORA; PebbleGo; MyCapstone; Altitude Learning; Canvas; Seesaw; Google Classroom

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These resources have been vetted by the project’s partner organizations. While this list highlights a diverse set of models, we know there are more innovative models around the nation. We’d love to hear about yours!

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"Texas Rural Education Association supports and collaborates with school districts in order to promote positive public education efforts. We are appreciative for these services that benefit and advocate for rural schools."

Bill Tarleton, Executive Director, Texas Rural Education Association

"Friends of Texas Public Schools know that great things happen in Texas public schools, every single day; even in a pandemic! We are thankful for resources like this that help public schools prepare for whatever the future holds."

Jennifer Storm, Executive Director, Friends of Texas Public Schools

"TABSE supports the TxLx initiative which focuses on equity and provides access to all learners."

Dr. David Harris, President of the Texas Alliance of Black School Educators