Innovation

As technology continues to transform our world, disrupt markets, and reshape the nature of doing business every day, there is an urgent need for education to respond.

Dwight is answering the call by blazing a trail for innovative IB curricular change, taking project-based and peer-to-peer learning to new heights, and educating skilled transformational thinkers who can excel in any and all endeavors. With a new building to extend Dwight’s design lab, makerspace, and incubator experiences for students — which will fuel even more collaboration and creativity — we are proud to be the school of the future today.

Preparing Graduates for Jobs of the Future

 

Today’s graduates are entering a global world in which the rate of technological change is fast and furious, and the future of the workplace is yet unimagined.

While tomorrow's career paths remain uncarved, we can prepare students to embrace whatever opportunities await by teaching them skills that go beyond academics or mastering the latest technology: brainstorming, designing, collaborating, problem-solving, and innovating. 

These entrepreneurial skills, coupled with flexibility, perseverance, resilience, and resourcefulness, are essential to success in the competitive marketplace and in life. We teach these skill sets and nurture these character traits within and beyond the classroom. 

Cultivating Entrepreneurship Through the IB

 

The International Baccalaureate — recognized as the “gold standard” worldwide in pre-university preparation — is the ideal framework for educating entrepreneurs.

With inquiry as the cornerstone of the curriculum, IB teachers champion independent thinking and empower students to drive their own learning, instilling confidence to go down their own paths and become risk takers.

Dwight, which has long been on the forefront of the IB, continues to innovate by integrating IB values with unique opportunities for students to take on new challenges and develop an entrepreneurial mindset.

Teaching the IB Design Thinking Process

The IB curriculum emphasizes student-driven inquiry.It encourages students to work on projects of their own imagining, take risks, and to become problem-solvers through design thinking and hands-on learning in graphic design, architecture, engineering, filmmaking, programming, robotics, and more.

Innovative Faculty Personalize Learning

Our faculty ignite the spark of genius in every child and customize the IB educational journey for each student based on his or her passions and talents.

Faculty, also committed to their own learning, have a myriad of professional development opportunities through our Master Educator Program and grants from The Dwight School Foundation.

We are dedicated to bringing the latest thinking to our campuses, offering faculty workshops, coaching, and a unique program — Faculty Innovation Leader Training — steeping participants in entrepreneurship, advanced research, design thinking, and innovation guided by some of the greatest minds in these fields.

Mapping the IB Innovation Journey

The IB at Work in the Classroom

Preschool and Kindergarten

Preschool and Kindergarten Students create and explore in our makerspace known as The Studio.

Grades 1-5

Through Imagination Investigation, Tinker Time, and Genius Hour, students in grades 1-5 have many opportunities to pursue something they choose to discover, create, and learn through “tinkering.”

Grade 5

Fifth grade students investigate topics meaningful to them related to the curriculum, collaborate in teams, and showcase their learning in the IB Primary Years Program Exhibition.

Grades 6-8

In Middle School, there are numerous design and tech learning opportunities, ranging from digital game development and robotics, to product design using 3-D printers and other tools. Students learn how to start their own businesses, including a pop-up restaurant, and collaborate on social entrepreneur projects through Dwight’s Middle School Leadership Program, drawing on the expertise of alumni and parents.

Grade 10

As students approach the end of their IB Middle Years Program, they probe a topic they choose and display their in-depth research, action, and learning through the Personal Project Exhibition.

Grades 11-12

IB Diploma Program students can elect to take computer science, while all research and write an Extended Essay on a subject of deep personal interest on par with college-level work. 

Dwight Global Online School Students in Grades 7-12

Students everywhere have the flexibility they need to pursue their passions in the arts, athletics, and entrepreneurial endeavors at the highest levels while receiving a world-class education.

"Classical ballet is my biggest passion, but maintaining my academics is important to me and my parents. Dwight Global has allowed me to fit everything into my life, without sacrificing my education."

—Nicole, grade 11

Fueling Student Entrepreneurship in Spark Tank

With the 2015 launch of Spark Tank, an incubator designed to teach entrepreneurial, innovation, and leadership skills beyond the classroom, Dwight became one of the first schools to empower K-12 students to start their own businesses.

Students bring their concepts — and real-world problems they want to solve — to Spark Tank. From the germ of an idea to acceleration, and from prototyping to market launch, they work after school with faculty mentors who guide them. Along the way, students present their projects regularly to a panel of judges for feedback, mentorship, and funding to translate their ideas into reality.

Judges are members of The Dwight School Foundation’s Spark Tank Committee — industry experts in Dwight’s parent and alumni community — who provide feedback, insights, and innovation grants, including a $2,500 college scholarship to students who reach the launch stage. 

Along the Spark Tank pathway, students learn a range of practical and business-related skills, including budgeting, product development, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, pitching, and public speaking, providing invaluable experience and preparation for the working world. So, too, do students receive validation for their initiative, develop their own voice, build confidence, and forge relationships with mentors. 

Inside Dwight's Spark Tank

"If I didn’t go to Dwight and I didn’t have that spark of genius engraved in me, I wouldn’t have had the confidence or motivation to bring this device to light or to my community."

– Hunter ’17, who created a button-size security tracking device called Hōlt to help reduce sexual assault

"Dwight’s incubator stands apart from those at the college level — it's based on Dwight’s belief that students shouldn’t have to wait to join the over-18 sector to pursue their dreams. When I talk about Spark Tank with parents around the world, they all say, "I want this great program at my children’s school."

‒ Dave Lindsey, Dwight Parent and Chair of the Spark Tank Committee

The Process

Following the IB design thinking and problem-solving cycle, students develop their projects in the incubator through five stages. 

Spanning the gamut from novel products to non-profits designed to make a difference in the world, Spark Tank projects are as unique as the students who develop them. Some are born from personal passions such as programming, robotics, fashion, science, and literature. Others are driven by issues that impact them personally, a desire to help others, or a vision for improving a product that is already on the market. 

Students with a Spark

Audrey is creating a series of children’s books to educate first and second graders about endangered sea life due to pollution. She plans to donate proceeds from book sales to a like-minded charity.

"I’m passionate about reading, writing, and the ocean, and wanted to combine my interests and help at the same time. I love Spark Tank because it helps you learn to do things that will help you in the future!" 

— Audrey, grade 5

 

Maria, who has wanted to be “the world’s best fashion designer” since the age of six has been on a fast track to achieving her goal through Spark Tank. She introduced a line for girls 6-13 and built an e-commerce site to sell her collection.

Stephane designed a low-cost, 3D-printed prosthetic hand for people with amputations — hundreds of thousands and many in war-torn countries who can’t afford them — catching the attention of business media, including "Varney & Co."

"I learned to better manage a budget and improve my robotics and programming knowledge beyond what I thought was possible. I definitely would not have been pushed to get my project to where it is today without Spark Tank. There is a community of innovation here."

—Stephane, grade 10

 

Seniors Marcus Kapoor, Jacob Lindahl, Alexander McKillop, and Holden Bril, members of the Business & Investment Club, are learning about investment. They passed level three and received $10,000 to manage. Half of any profits will go back to the Foundation; the rest will remain in the account. 

Mada and Michelle teamed up to build and code an app called TimeBreak designed to help people with time management, especially busy teenagers like themselves.

app called TimeBreak designed to help people with time management, especially busy teenagers like themselves. 

"Spark Tank helped me get my ideas out there in the world and use my imagination to make the world a better place … What I take from Spark Tank — and what I will still talk about when I’m old — is our amazing project and how Dwight made it come true!" 

—Mada, grade 11 

"I learned a lot about by myself, how to expand an idea into a physical product, and how to step back and think critically to overcome an obstacle and move forward. I also learned to think about my career as an entrepreneur." 

— Michelle, grade 11

 

Daniil '17 appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” sharing his Live-Time Closed Captioning System designed to help people with hearing impairments “hear” a conversation as it’s happening. He also developed a patented portable particle accelerator in Spark Tank, which was purchased by a U.S. school supply distributor and is in use in science classrooms.

LEADERSHIP

Allison Feldman 
Chief Innovation and
Communications Officer

afeldman@dwight.edu
212.724.6360 x606

Matt Moran
Director of Technology
and Innovation
mmoran@dwight.edu 
212.724.6360 x353