Coeylen Barry described her first response to learning about design thinking at Stanford University as, “Why didn’t I learn about this earlier?” It was not long after that that she founded a company called Createdu to bring design thinking to students around the world.

Coeylen Barry

Coeylen Barry

Barry describes design thinking on Createedu’s website as “increasing student engagement and achievement because students see the relevance of educational content and take ownership of their learning. Today’s job market is changing so rapidly, we no longer know what we are preparing students for; design thinking teaches an approach and a process that they can apply to whatever pursuits they may choose.”

With a master’s degree in curriculum and teacher education from Stanford University, after helping to found the revered African Leadership Academy, and several years of hands-on research at the K-12 labs at Stanford’s Institute of Design, Barry’s expertise in design thinking is exceptional.

This summer, Barry brought this expertise to Marymount of Santa Barbara, where she worked with, trained and inspired Marymount’s faculty and administrators, building more momentum for the school’s ground-breaking design thinking program.

Barry’s visit to Santa Barbara is evidence of Marymount’s investment in creative 21st century learning.

Further evidence are the two new innovation labs and a soon-to-be completed Center for Creative Design that will serve as a flexible makerspace for students. Workshops, new course content and cross-curriculum implementation of design thinking now complement the school’s strong foundation of academic offerings.

“Marymount has been able to add new and, I believe, necessary programs to build 21st century skills in our students without losing the strong academic foundation-building programs Marymount is so well known for,” said Andrew Wooden, Marymount head of school. “Marymount’s values of Intellectual Preparation, Individual Flourishing and Ethical Collaboration continue to guide us to constantly innovate and stay relevant in important ways for student development and success. Our teachers are excited by the opportunities Marymount’s design thinking program offers them.”

Marymount’s design thinking program and Barry’s visit were spearheaded by Jannine Tuttle, Marymount director of creative design and engineering, and Rodney Lee, director of science, technology, engineering and math.

Barry’s visit involved training and coaching of Marymount teachers as well as a chance for a hands-on training with Cate School colleagues at Cate’s Summer Institutes: Science, Leadership and Creativity for a Better Tomorrow, a summer camp for seventh- and eighth-grade students.

“Marymount’s design thinking pilot program has gone exceptionally well. Students love it and the faculty can see the benefits in student learning,” Wooden said. “It’s exciting to take things to the next level and the professional development Coeylen Barry provided our teachers helped us do that.”

Marymount is an independent coeducational school, junior kindergarten through 8th grade, on a picturesque 10-acre campus nestled on the Santa Barbara Riviera. For 75 years, Marymount has prepared young people for the academic challenges of high school and college, while laying the foundation for life-long character, achievement, and love of learning.

— Molly Seguel is the director of admission for Marymount of Santa Barbara.