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School Design Studio


Welcome to the School Design Studio™ - a groundbreaking approach that transforms schools and reignites educational missions while fostering sustained impact and legacy. Our innovative methodology goes beyond surface changes, reshaping core principles with design thinking to create robust operational protocols for future-proof success. Hundreds of schools have benefited using this methodology. 

Benefits of School Design Studio

Forward-Thinking Redefinition

Unlike traditional methods, we delve deep into core principles, envisioning a future where schools thrive. Our design thinking approach crafts operating principles and protocols aimed at lasting success.

Project-Based Learning - Students
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Transformational Leadership Development

Our program empowers leaders to deliver impactful professional development, influencing decisions that shape a sustainable school culture, from curriculum to physical space design.

Positive Changes Reported by School Teams

  • Clarity and Cohesion: Establishing system-wide clarity and alignment between mission and daily offerings, resulting in a more focused team.

  • Revitalized Team Capacity: Boosting professional development experiences and reinvigorating team members.

  • Transformative Outcomes: Enhanced decision-making in alignment with the school model, positively impacting academics and school culture.

  • Addressing Challenges: Tailored support for schools facing mission disconnects, enrollment decline or high staff turnover.

  • Noteworthy Results: Improved attendance rates, increased engagement, significant increase in academic assessment results, elevated teacher-student interaction and positive shifts in the school's energy and culture.

  • Identifying untapped potential for further excellence.

  • Fine-tuning existing strategies for higher academic achievement and innovation.

  • Fostering a culture of innovation for continuous improvement.

  • Ensuring sustained excellence and leaving a lasting educational legacy.


Even high-performing school teams often struggle to clearly articulate their success factors across academic, cultural, physical space and operational supports. 

Benefits for High-Performing Schools

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Insights from "From Within" Documentary

The film delves into the real challenges faced by two failing schools in Arkansas and how School Design Studio methodologies sparked profound shifts. Testimonials highlight the power of building trust, enhancing communication and fostering a culture of collaboration among educators, students and families.

The School Design Studio process assists your teams in precisely articulating and prioritizing these design elements, enabling seamless comprehension for new school teams in a manner that fosters sustainable high fidelity.


The School Design Studio process consists of five iterative sessions, each lasting 4-6 hours, scheduled 3-4 weeks apart, accommodating cross-functional teams of 12-15 people from either one or multiple schools. 

Throughout these sessions, the School Design Studio provides continuous coaching and feedback support to the cross-functional teams, whether from a single school or multiple schools, to ensure a comprehensive understanding and application of the school design framework.

Team Outputs

The outputs from the School Design Studio process from school teams typically include:


  1. Articulated School Design Elements: Clear, concise and prioritized documentation of essential design elements crucial for a high-performance school across academic, cultural, physical space and operational supports.

  2. Codification Framework: A structured framework or guideline that simplifies the understanding of school design elements, facilitating their effective communication to new school teams.

  3. Refined Design Elements: Iteratively refined and enhanced design elements based on feedback and discussions throughout the sessions.

  4. Coaching and Feedback: Coaching sessions and feedback provided to the team to aid in their continuous improvement and learning.

  5. Documentation of Learning: A compilation of insights gained, lessons learned and best practices observed from various school designs across the country tailored to assist in refining the school's design.

  6. Prioritized Design Elements: Identification and prioritization of crucial design elements essential for success, supporting focused implementation and sustainability efforts.

  7. Actionable Strategies: Strategies or action plans derived from discussions on implications for replication systems and growth strategies aligned with the school's design.


Overall, the School Design Studio's collaborative and inclusive approach resulted in transformative changes aligning schools with the unique needs of 21st-century education, positively impacting student outcomes and school communities.

Your Facilitators

Each School Design Studio Facilitator has led dozens of Design Studio education team cohorts through the process. Every year, the School Design Studio protocols undergo a continuous improvement process and are tested. Each facilitator calibrates their process annually to ensure consistency of facilitation.

Sarah Gallagher is a seasoned educational leader with over 20 years of experience driving systemic change in public and parochial schools. Focused on educational equity, she has a strong commitment to providing high quality and engaging learning opportunities for all students, leveraging her background as a teacher, researcher and CEO to transform school cultures and achieve mission fulfillment.

Sarah Gallagher

Facilitator - EDU

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Ted Fujimoto brings over three decades of expertise as a leading strategy consultant in education reform and the charter school sector nationwide. Ted co-founded Napa New Technology High School, pioneered project-based learning and played a key role in the evolution of the New Tech Network and Big Picture Learning. His extensive experience also includes overseeing grants for major foundations.

Ted Fujimoto

Facilitator - Corp/EDU

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School Design Participant Quotes

Before the School Design Studio Process

After the School Design Studio Process

"We're facing a lack of improvement; emotional distress among staff."

"There are significant challenges and a lack of progress in leadership."

"High turnover, disconnected school culture and low academic performance."

"Frustration among teachers; lack of progress with various educational methods."

"Students are struggling; low attendance and lack of motivation."


"Despite numerous initiatives and efforts, progress seems limited."

"We've witnessed transformative experiences; noticeable positive changes."

"There's enhanced clarity, focus and a cohesive vision among staff and leadership."

"We've shifted to a positive, engaging and connected school culture."

"We've seen notable improvements in teaching methods, engagement and student morale."

"We've noticed improved student engagement, higher attendance rates and increased morale."

"We've experienced significant positive shifts in school culture and academic performance."

Versatile Solutions for Varied Needs

Ideal for schools aligning with 21st-century student needs, battling mission misalignment, struggling with outcomes due to turnover or aspiring for sustainable growth.

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Proven Track Record

Witness the documented transformation in the film "From Within." Schools went from an 80% to over 96% attendance rate, transforming "F" rated institutions on the verge of closure into award-winning centers for academic growth in under two years. Creative teaching methods fostered authentic connections among students and staff.

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