Tools for Change

Use these resources to lead your team through a design journey that surfaces solutions for students furthest from opportunity in your school community. Work through each phase in order or choose a specific phase that best fits your team's needs.
To download the full toolkit, please visit the Appendix.
Phase 3

Get to know your students

Designing for others requires examining our individual biases and challenging assumptions. Shadowing a student as an empathy exercise enables participants to learn about the lived experiences and needs of their students to better inform the team’s design journey.

Before you begin this phase, you should:

  • Create an equity aspiration that centers on students furthest from opportunity
Throughout the design journey I found myself returning to empathy - with my students and my colleagues. With my colleagues, our greatest aspirations and dreams for students came from this work.
Erik Ray
Teacher in Oceanside, CA

Getting started

Get to Know Your Students

An overview of this phase's goals, activities, and desired outcomes.



Develop a shared understanding about the insights from shadowing students. Use them to revisit equity aspirations and consider potential hacks to meet student needs.

Empathy Activities

An alternative to the student shadow experience. Consider interviewing or observing students identified in your equity aspiration and generate insights that can guide your design process.

Meaningful Learning Snapshot

Develop a shared understanding about how meaningful learning is showing up in your school. Use it to revisit equity aspirations and consider potential hacks.


These activities will provide your team with qualitative evidence and insights about the student experience.

At the end of this phase, you will have:

  • Generated key insights about the student experience

Join the conversation

Have a question or suggestion about this phase? Share it with the Facebook Group.

Share Your Thoughts

Help other educators learn from your team. Share your work on the Community Wall.

View The Wall

Next, start small by using hacks

In the next phase, you will start hacking towards your Equity Aspiration. That means you will take a bias to action by brainstorming and implementing solutions.