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Click for Stage 1: Design Studio FAQ

Click for Stage 2: Design Fellowship FAQ

Click for Stage 3: Design Residency FAQ


What is the CityBridge Incubator?

  • The CityBridge Incubator is a space for innovators and problem-solvers to explore, design, and test equitable solutions with guidance from our expert coaches. Whether you are interested in creating new schools, organizations, or programs within existing schools, the CityBridge Incubator will prepare you to implement your solution in a real-world setting. The CityBridge Incubator offers three stages – increasing in intensity, participant’s experience level, support, and length. 


Is participation across the CityBridge Incubator linear?

  • No. Participants can enter at any level but certain eligibility requirements must be met for Stage 2 and Stage 3. We encourage anyone interested in our programs to start with Stage 1: Design Studio. However, if you have already participated in a similar program or done initial testing, please contact us.


Who are the coaches?

  • Our coaches include former K-12 teachers, a former principal, a former vice-principal, and an attorney. Our coaches have designed and run multiple equitable innovation programs, coached DCPS schools implementing a variety of innovative learning models, founded a startup, and have supported all seven teams approved by the DC Public Charter School Board to open new schools in the 2019, 2020, and 2021 new start cycles.


Can individuals or teams outside of DC participate?

  • We support anyone working with students in public education in the District of Columbia. We know folks may live and work all over the DMV, but your project within the Incubator must focus on students in DC. 


What do you mean by “equity-centered”?

  • Our program leans on the insights of the equityXdesign framework to start with an understanding of our own identities, to design for those at the margins, to make power dynamics visible in the design process, to acknowledge historical context, and to pay close attention to the way language shapes our thinking. 


What is the difference between the Design Studio and the Design Fellowship?

  • Design Studio is a three-part introductory workshop for individuals to design and test equity-centered solutions to DC’s most pressing educational challenges. Design Studio is a good fit for:
    • Educators (teachers, school leaders) or education-adjacent professionals (social workers, class leads, administrators) across Washington, DC who:
      • Have identified a problem in their school or educational community
      • Are in the early stages of building a solution to this problem
      • Have at least one year of experience working in education or with students/youth
      • Are able to attend both sessions
  • Design Fellowship is a four-month, immersive program for teams to design and scale equity-centered solutions to DC’s most pressing educational challenges. Design Fellowship is a good fit for:
    • Teams of school-based educators across Washington, DC (e.g. an assistant principal or principal and two additional educators) or teams of non-school based educators who work with students regularly
    • Participants able to commit 4 to 6 hours between each full-day workshop to apply the tools with students and the school community, and to work with their team and CityBridge coach


What are the three stages of support within the CityBridge Incubator?

    • Participant Profile: Individuals
    • Application: No
    • Length: Three 2-hour workshops
    • Frequency: Year-round opportunities
    • Support: Virtual support and optional post-workshop support, network, and micro-funding
    • Testing: Design and run a single pilot
    • Outcomes: Build a test to run after the workshop
    • Participant Profile: Team
    • Application: Yes
    • Funding:  Up to $7,500
    • Length: 4 full-day workshops across 4 months
    • Frequency: 2 cohorts, fall and spring
    • Support: Individualized coaching between workshops
    • Testing: Design and run one or more pilot of varying complexity
    • Outcomes: 1 fully executed pilot plan, designs for a 2nd, larger-scale pilot, a theory of change, a set of storytelling tools, and a plan for building a coalition
    • We are reimagining what Design Residency will look like for the next year. Come back soon for updated details.