STEM and Design Thinking Pathways

Pathway Definitions:

STEM: Refers to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. DSISD’s STEM program broadens the study of engineering within each of the other subjects. We also bring STEM education to all students rather than it being limited to only advanced study programs. 

Social Entrepreneurship: A foundation of the DSISD curriculum and a key component of our design thinking pathway. Social Entrepreneurship is the process of creating self-sustaining businesses and organizations that also generate solutions to civic and environmental needs.  

Design Thinking: Also known as solution-based thinking, is a process of practical, creative resolution of problems and creation of new and innovative solutions.


design thinking session

Design Thinking Pathways VIsual 3.0


The incorporation of these elements in the day-to-day DSISD experiences are what set us apart from other schools. We will not only prepare students for success for college and career, we will get them started by providing authentic opportunities to learn and work in real-world career and college environments.

  • In 9th and 10th grades students will take college credit bearing classes alternating between STEM/Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship.
  • 11th grade, students will select a major in either STEM or Social Entrepreneurship and begin internships
  • 12th grade- ½ day college credit classes at a community college aligned to their majors

The 5 Step Design Thinking Process

DSISD will provide a learning environment that will foster the curiosity and imagination of innovators. Students will design solutions to problems using the five steps of design thinking:

  1. Empathize: Learn about the audience for whom you are designing
  2. Define: Construct a point of view that is based on user needs and insights
  3. Ideate: Brainstorm and come up with creative solutions
  4. Prototype: Build a representation of one or more of your ideas to show others
  5. Test: Return to original user group and testing your ideas for feedback