Poway Unified School District's new school Design 39 ready to shine

Poway school takes learning to next level

SAN DIEGO - Crews are putting the finishing touches on what is being touted as a groundbreaking school in San Diego County.

The Poway Unified School District's Design 39 school will be the first public school of its kind, from their staff to the way they teach.

"We call ourselves learning experience designers, LEDs; the reason is we light up the path to help them find their path," said Megan Powers, a teacher at Design 39. "We want to get to know that particular student in every single room and what are their strengths, what are their super powers, what are their needs and how can I help them to successes."

The school day is designed around an integrated learning time, taking the basics of reading, writing and math, and looking at them as ideas and skills.

"Students will be finding their passions, like if you enjoy being a videographer or making ceramics, as a teacher, we will be using our super powers to help them learn through their areas of interest," said Powers.

The campus structure has open-concept classrooms, collaboratories and makers rooms.

"The idea of kids being able to make and come up with a design and then giving them the space, the tools and some training to be able to come out with a prototype," said Bret Fitzpatrick, a teacher at Design 39.

Design 39 isn't opening without controversy. In January, some parents packed a school board meeting and said they were upset that their kids who live within walking distance of the school can't attend classes there.

The district superintendent said that's because the school was paid for entirely with Mello-Roos funds, so only families who pay that special tax can send children to Design 39.

Still, more than 850 excited students -- pre-kindergarten through sixth grade -- will fill the campus when the doors open August 20.

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