These are exhilarating times at the Academy. Our faculty has decided to adopt Design Thinking as a model for our students to develop the 21st century skills necessary for them to engage in their local community and in the world in ways that are gratifying, stimulating and fun. With the adoption of this design model, it is our hope to encourage curiosity and innovation. The Harvard Business Review magazine describes the collective principles of Design as empathy with users, a discipline of proto-typing and a tolerance for failure [that will lead to discovery or rediscovery] through various trials and errors. It is the intention of this approach to give our students the proper tools to work in a responsive and flexible culture that will intentionally explore different perspectives so that our children will learn to think collaboratively and originally. The intent is to embrace interdisciplinary learning that will lead to problem solving, to deep research, to teamwork, to strong presentation skills and to going beyond the classroom and into our communities, knowing that it will be mental agility and versatility that will grant them a life characterized by fulfillment and happiness.
We have also decided to explore the possible construction of a 21st century classroom building that will be approximately 26,000 square feet and will be characterized by having innovation labs, writable walls and the flexible and permeable spaces to provide space for what we hope will be many dynamic and diverse interdisciplinary courses. We would like the building to be energy efficient (maybe even LEED rated). It will be an area on campus where connection, collaboration, science, technology, engineering, math, art and humanities are laterally blended so that our students are engaged in “big thinking” ideas. Our hope is to ensure for future generations that Staten Island Academy is and will be a school that values curiosity over the simple compliance of coverage of material. Our intention is that SIA will be in possession of a cutting-edge curriculum for now and in the future.