NAIS Speed Innovating Presentation, March 2018


List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Ilsa Dohmen

    Ilsa Dohmen 

    Director of Teaching and Learning
  • Photo of Mark Silver

    Mark Silver 

    Head of School
    408-356-6116 x300
Reimagine Learning Spaces
  • iLab
  • Teacher-led Research Studies
  • Satellite spaces - WeWork
The shift to iPads opened up our old computer lab, which became our first “agile classroom” called the iLab. We launched a series of teacher-led research studies in this fishbowl learning space, and have become a national leader in the conversation of how physical space measurably affects student learning. Flexible furniture, wiggle stools, whiteboard tables, and more changes to classrooms show our commitment to student-centered learning. As our spaces evolved to increase student choice, movement, ownership, and inclusion, so did our program offerings. In an effort to expand student and teacher learning beyond our campus in 2017 we opened a satellite space in Downtown San Jose, at WeWork Coworking Facility.


Redesign Adult Learning
  • Co-teaching
  • Redesigning professional time - relationships, choice,
  • Program Audits
  • Protocol groups
Utilizing a design-thinking approach with all employees, we collectively determined our faculty and staff need three things for successful professional learning: trusting relationships, choice, and engagement. We have used these touchstones to design new professional learning structures (including an overnight employee retreat, open collaboration times, protocol groups like instructional rounds and SEED, program audits and R&D days).


Unleash Student-directed Learning
  • LS independent learning extensions (ICE, ACE, Exploration Time)
  • 8th grade Capstone Project
  • Reach Beyond Week
  • Redesigned schedule
  • The Hub
Starting with the creation of the iLab, one of the first makerspaces in the country, we have been pushing the boundaries about how to create student-directed learning throughout our campus. Problem-based science, independent learning extensions across lower school, independent study time in fifth and sixth grades, culminating in an Eighth Grade Capstone Project, commit time each week to students pursuing passions and developing their own projects. Reach Beyond Week pushes all sixth- through eighth-grade students and faculty out of the classroom. A typical school schedule turns into weeklong, real-world learning excursions, collaboratively designed by faculty and chosen by students based on interest. A new schedule for the 2018-19 school year increases flexibility for students and teachers, allowing for increased opportunities for interdisciplinary, cross-grade learning, and for experiences that reach beyond our campus.


Reimagine Time
  • Reach Beyond Block
  • MS Integrated Studies Blocks
  • Individualized learning
A new schedule for the 2018-19 school year increases flexibility for students and teachers, allowing for increased opportunities for individualization, interdisciplinary, cross-grade learning, and experiences that reach beyond our campus.

Highlights include integrated studies blocks in Middle School that are co-taught by history, science, English and math teachers, and a "Reach Beyond" block that occurs once weekly on every child and every faculty member’s schedule. The Reach Beyond Block is the opportunity to design student experiences that inspire new interests, engage local partners in stretching students’ perspectives, and enrich learning with any number of other instructional and inquiry approaches. It is the block of time where students are empowered to identify their interests and dreams, transferring the skills and content learned from the other areas of their school experience to reach beyond themselves and make a difference in their world.


Launch the Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Hillbrook
  • Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship
  • WeWork satellite space
  • Reach Beyond Week
  • Social Entrepreneurship elective
We’re helping students reach beyond themselves and make a difference in the world with one of the only social entrepreneurship programs in the world for elementary school students. In fall 2017, we launched the program and have already embarked on several day hikes. We used our WeWork space to partner with Kiva to create a student lending club and off-campus elective; designed an Ethical Fashion Program as part of our newly launched Reach Beyond Week; hosted lunches with social impact, entrepreneurial, and community leaders throughout Silicon Valley; and partnered with Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation in Atlanta to see how schools across the country could work together to introduce social entrepreneurship into the K-12 space.


An independent Junior Kindergarten -8th grade school in Los Gatos since 1935

300 Marchmont Drive
Los Gatos, CA 95032
(408) 356-6116 |