Education for the 21st century

Help us ignite innovation, create breakthrough ideas, and celebrate the enterprising ecosystem of St. Vrain Valley Schools.

Our Vision

The Design Challenge is new competition (in its second year) designed to ignite innovation, create breakthrough ideas, and celebrate the enterprising ecosystem of the St. Vrain Valley Schools.

The challenge provides our schools with an opportunity to solve an authentic system challenge within their school environment. Each year, school faculty teams will be invited to address a challenge that confronts their capacity to achieve our district's mission of academic excellence by design. School faculties will utilize design thinking processes to develop their solutions and will also generate presentations that convincingly demonstrate the value of their solutions. Community partners will judge applicants and award prizes to the team with the highest rated solution presented at our pitch competition.


2017-2018 Focus

Apply Design Thinking to solve challenges that impact global collaboration.

Interested schools will identify a challenge that addresses how students and educators connect and effectively collaborate with partners from a variety of backgrounds at a local and/or global level. Teams will engage with this challenge to develop an actionable solution for systemic and long-lasting improvement at their building or in the district. The focus is kept intentionally broad to allow for individualization and innovation across the district. Global Collaboration may include topics such as:

  • Connecting with diverse individuals either locally or from around the globe to tackle societal challenges
  • Iterating global educational experiences or innovations from across the globe to create a competitive advantage for SVVSD students
  • Using collaborative technologies to examine issues from multiple viewpoints

Global Collaborator’ is one of ISTE’s 7 student standards. Their definitions and examples can help inform team projects if so desired. More can be found here.

Learn more about our solution target >>


Design thinking is the essential ability to combine empathy, creativity and rationality to meet user needs and solve real-world issues.


Our Sponsors

  • "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein

Monetary Awards

Every participating team will win $250.

1st Place

$4,000

Second Place

$2,000

Third Place

$1,500

Challenge Outcomes

The St. Vrain Design Challenge provides our schools with an opportunity to apply the business and engineering model of design thinking to solve problems that are being faced in their workplace. Design Challenge participants will:

  • Strengthen faculty skills in using the design thinking process in authentic workplace situations
  • Generate replicable solutions that can use used in other schools across the district
  • Encourage excitement in using entrepreneurial practices within the school system for other purposes

Competition Timeline

  • Through September 30, 2017

    Interested school teams complete application to participate

  • October 17, 2017

    Attend the Design Challenge Institute for emerging learnings and those new to this process (optional)

  • October 2017

    Empathy & Define Problem Checkpoint

  • November-December 2017

    Ideate Checkpoint

  • January 2018

    Prototype and Test Checkpoint

  • February 2018

    Completion and submission of Solution (White paper)

  • March 2018

    Live pitch competition, presentation of awards (date/time TBD)

Getting Started

  • Locate the supporting materials and check out the rubric, white paper template, and DWDC toolkit (pdf, iBooks) for guidance on different stages in the process, tips for your pitch, and more.
  • Identify a team for participation (include teachers, students, administrators, etc)
  • While the participating team can be made up of any interested stakeholders, we ask that participants delivering the pitch at the pitch event be limited to SVVSD employees (staff, educators, admin, etc; no students or community members).
  • Apply for the design challenge before the September 30th deadline.
  • Mark your calendar and register for the (optional) Design Institute - October 17, 2017 at the Innovation Center
  • Watch your email for next steps!

Supporting Documentation >>

Professional Development

Our district will host a Design Challenge Institute training for salary credit at the Innovation Center from 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm. This training will including learning and planning designed to immerse participants in the design mindset while focusing on building- and district-level challenges worth exploring.

Register Now >>

Team Expectations

  • (Optional) Communicate with your team liaison throughout the process as needed; they are there to support you!
  • Develop an 4-minute pitch to deliver to a community audience & judges in an informal, fun atmosphere in March 2018 (date TBA).
  • Write up a 2-3 page white paper for judges and community members to understand your project.
  • Attend the pitch event

  • "Imagination can take you everywhere but design will take you to somewhere great."
    - M. Cobani

Now Accepting 2017-18 Applications