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Design Fellowship, our four-month, immersive fellowship, helps innovators design and scale equity-centered solutions to DC’s most pressing educational challenges. 

During the fellowship, participants receive customized tools, coaching, and financial support to design, test, adapt, and scale a right-sized pilot solution. Pilots are intentionally designed experiments to learn about interventions in a low-risk environment. Leaders and teams take a series of steps during the pilot design and implementation process to disrupt bias and racism.

Below are a few pilots designed by our Design Fellowship Spring 2021 participants.

Bard Early College High School

The Bard Early College High School team is piloting new inclusive classroom routines to deepen relationships between faculty and students and forge a strong sense of belonging for everyone.

Dunbar High School

The Dunbar High School team is piloting social-emotional learning moments in content classes to help students build confidence and perseverance. Their work is designed to disrupt and dismantle negative identity threats that can impede student self-efficacy, self-understanding, and sense of belonging—all of which are crucial to learning.

Eastern High School

The team at Eastern High School will pilot weekly one-on-one advising meetings with students in order to build relationships and support academic success.

McKinley Tech High School

The McKinley Tech High School team is ceding power to students by piloting leadership training for student leaders, so they are able to run student clubs and events that foster a sense of belonging among peers.

Planting SEEDS

Planting SEEDS is piloting the “Student Educator Collective,” a co-constructed after-school program for Black high school girls that provides a space to uncover and refine their self- and group advocacy skills. Girls will identify and deepen their current advocacy skills and develop a plan to address school-based challenges impacting them.

(R)evolution Montessori

(R)evolution Montessori is piloting communities of practice for Montessori educators of color. One group will support Latinx/a/o/e educators in Spanish and another will support Black African educators in English. Their work addresses the fact that Montessori teachers in the US are predominantly white and female, but students in Montessori programs are increasingly diverse. Current Montessori teacher training does not always prepare educators to create anti-bias, anti-racist classroom environments.

Sousa Middle School

The Sousa Middle School team is piloting new family and caregiver engagement programs in order to create sustainable and responsive experiences that foster positive relationships and partnerships among stakeholders.


The Spelligent team is piloting a cycle of lesson planning, teaching, and review for educators that will center the needs of diverse and exceptional learners. The pilot will incorporate learner profiles and the principles of Universal Design for Learning. Learnings from the pilot will inform the core instructional model for a new school.

Walker-Jones Education Campus

The Walker-Jones Education Campus team will continue to pilot dinner conversations with families that are designed to deepen relationships between faculty and caregivers, learn more about family needs and perspectives, and engage with families that have experienced disconnection during the pandemic.

Wilson High School

The team at Wilson High School will pilot training faculty on Structured Immersion Observation Protocol methods, which ensure that classroom experiences meet the content and language needs of English Language Learners.