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SXSWedu 2016

Issues Building an Innovative School

We are transforming how students experience school in Philadelphia. At The U School, students are given real world opportunities to apply knowledge and fulfill their greatest potential. In our pilot years, this work has presented many challenges. Our goal is to integrate problem-based learning and design spaces into a competency-based high school. Our guiding vision is "We Love. We Dream. We Do." But how can we break ingrained habits and paradigms in order to change the way that students experience school? During this Problem Solver session, we will collaborate with K-12 administrators, teachers, and students who are doing, or want to do, school differently.

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  1. Engage in the design thinking process to envision how school can be done differently.
  2. Explore how to structure asynchronous education for open-enrollment, public schools.
  3. Use personal narratives from The U School to empower students to change the way they experience school and the world.


  • Jessica Shupik, math teacher, The U School
  • Sophie Date, teacher, The U School
  • Amy Stornaiuolo, Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania


Jessica Shupik, Teacher, The U School

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