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d.tech’s New Innovation Diploma

Yohanna Konardi | ykonardi19@dtechhs.org | September 26, 2018

You look at the screen, blank except for a question that seemingly taunts you: “What achievements or acknowledgment have you received during your time at high school?” You’ve had a fair amount of successful d.lab projects, you have decent grades, and you’re a pretty smart kid. Yet, you can’t seem to think of any awards d.tech has given out that a college would consider meaningful. Does Empathy Warrior count? How about Clean Machine? Or Self-Directed Superstar? Maybe the “I am a Designer” award?

Now, finally, there may be a way to get official recognition for big passion projects, like building a half-pipe or filing for a patent for a tech-savvy purse. Dr. Montgomery and Ms. Cerra last Wednesday introduced a new award they hope will be considered valuable by colleges and Silicon Valley CEOs: The Innovation Diploma.

“It’s an opportunity to show what they can really do,” says Cerra, referring to d.tech’s youthful design thinkers. “It’s like a challenge, but it’s a good one and it’s an inspiring one.” The diploma, meant to promote innovation, is awarded to students who can document their preparedness for the world, proficiency in identifying problems, and skill in implementing solutions.

In order to qualify for the diploma, one must submit a portfolio, have four semesters with a B or better in d.lab, and provide a client-based design project or an independent design project that addresses one of the 17 global goals identified by the United Nations. Once these goals are met according to the school’s standards, you will receive the diploma at graduation. There is no limit to how many Innovation Diplomas the school can give out. In fact, Cerra and Montgomery hope to make the diploma accessible for students in other schools, too, with d.tech acting as a sort of credentialing body, similar to the College Board, which controls Advanced Placement, or the International Baccalaureate Program.

The d.tech administrators have already begun to pitch the concept to several colleges and Silicon Valley companies, and are hoping to have them publicly endorse the diploma by the end of this school year.

With such an exciting award to fuel your motivation, what will you come up with to be the next “d.tech innovator”?

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