interfere with student achievement at their school.

They presented their findings to a panel of district officials and community health leaders on Thursday, Oct. 23.

The students used a creative  problem-solving strategy called Design Thinking, which teachers were trained in over the summer, to explore these issues in depth, said teacher Judy Barcelon.

 Students came up with specific questions and used them to interview their peers. Their findings were in line with that of a similar study conducted by Swedish researchers, Barcelon said. They found that students need access to healthy food, time for homework and an environment free from bullying, drugs and dysfunctional relationships.

Then students presented solutions: They suggested creating peer counseling groups, school-wide assemblies focused on issues like bullying, and changes to the school day to allow students more time for sleeping and homework. They also suggested changes to the cafeteria, including self-serve sandwich bars and healthy food vendors.

Students and panelists alike said they learned a lot from the process, Barcelon said.

 “Students were able to apply academic skills and content in new ways that empowered them beyond the textbook.”

Individual projects can be viewed at

IMG_2670.jpgPiner High Design thinking team presents their ideas to the group.

20141002_084639.jpg English and Social Science teachers provided time for  Medical Biology students to ask their peers about health issues on the Piner campus.