CHICAGO (November 15, 2019) — Schools That Can Chicago will host a Design Day Challenge for middle schoolers on November 1, 2019. This year’s Design Day Challenge will make history: middle schoolers from the entire Schools That Can network will come together to envision how they would create an area of the future Obama Presidential Center if they were the architects. 

“We’re honored and excited to use the Obama Presidential Center as inspiration for this Design Day,” says Beth Bazer, Executive Director of Schools That Can Chicago. “This is an incredible opportunity for students and professionals to work together in an academic exercise around the development of a notable civic structure that will become part of Chicago’s rich history. The Obamas’ legacy represents hope and the potential of our future, and there’s no better way to celebrate this  than watching students collaborate to make decisions, empower and learn from each other, and ultimately inspire their community.”

A hands-on experience, the Design Day Challenge is an innovative program designed to get students working together and immersing themselves in real-world solutions to challenges facing their community. At the conclusion of the day, they will present their solutions to leading industry experts including architects from Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects I Partners , the firm designing the Obama Presidential Center, furthering opportunities for students to develop their presentation and public speaking skills. 

“We are proud to work with Schools That Can Chicago and offer their bright, young students an opportunity to provide ideas on how they would envision the design of the Obama Presidential Center,” said David Simas, CEO of the Obama Foundation. “Our mission to inspire, empower, and connect people to change their world begins right here in Chicago, and I can think of no better way to honor our youth than to see their creative thinking around the Obama Presidential Center.” 

Students will use a collection of materials including modeling clay, Legos, pipe cleaners, and cardboard to create innovative designs. In addition to a hands-on opportunity for real-world learning and design thinking, the Design Day Challenge empowers youth as leaders in shaping their communities, and engages them with stakeholders and local experts to create a vision for part of Chicago’s history.

The Design Day Challenge & Celebration will take place Friday, November 15, 2019. All are welcome to attend the celebration from 3PM-5PM, where you can meet the students, see the designs, vote on your favorite, and celebrate the winning teams:



About Schools That Can

Since starting with a small cluster of schools in 2005, Schools That Can (STC) has grown into the country’s largest cross-sector network of urban schools serving low-income communities. The network currently reaches approximately 200 schools across 15 cities, serving more than 75,000 students. STC works with school leaders, teachers and students to reimagine education through real-world learning that closes the opportunity and skills gap. Innovative approaches fill a much-needed void to better prepare students for a rapidly changing future. By connecting leaders to powerful practices and models, developing teachers and engaging students, STC is poised to make an important difference in the lives of American youth.

 Schools That Can also features Design Days in its other network cities, Newark, Pittsburgh, and New York.