Learn About Sequoyah’s Social Innovation Program and Design Thinking

Sequoyah’s Social Innovation program (SIP) is designed to help students develop empathy and to be effective collaborators and change makers. Through the program, Sequoyah’s Staff encourages students to cultivate their individual passions and develop their interests in making a difference in the world.

“We want students to discover their passion in the larger world,” said Alia Kate, Director of Social Innovation at Sequoyah School.

Over a course of four years, students are exposed to complex issues and injustices in both local and global communities and learn strategies to address those issues with meaningful and sustainable solutions.

“Creativity is a really big part of it – [we are] unlocking students’ creativity to help them collaborate effectively,” said Kate.

The program begins with an orientation to LA where students learn about geography, industry and infrastructure within the city. Program is rounded out with a study of the Grand Challenges including the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the White House 21st Century Goals, L.A 2050, and the National Academy of Engineering Goals. These challenges include goals to improve access to clean water, reduce carbon emission, improve access to nutritious food and secure cyberspace.

“It’s an experiential program so a lot of [Social Innovation] is about the application,” said Kate.

Students are divided into four design teams of 12-13 students per team, led by Sequoyah faculty member, who meets their team from noon to 3:30 pm every Friday. The city is their classroom and most Fridays they leave campus and conduct site visits with government officials, community activists, non-profits, researches and changemakers to gain better understanding of the issues that are relevant in their community. Students learn design thinking skills to understand, design and implement solutions, always working closely with local stakeholders.

“We want [students] to get out in the community and ask critical questions,” said Kate.

The Sequoyah School is located at 535 South Pasadena Avenue, Pasadena. Call (626) 795-4351 or visit www.sequoyahschool.org for more information.



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