Key milestones of our ongoing work to transform education through media and design education

Key milestones of our ongoing work to transform education through media and design education:

  • Design-Lab High successfully launched in August 2015 in Newark, DE with freshmen and sophomores classes. Design-Lab Schools LLC provided the expertise and funding to start the school.
  • By unanimous vote, the charter proposal for Delaware Design-Lab High School was formally approved by the Delaware State Board of Education on the recommendation of Delaware Secretary of Education, Mark Murphy, at the State Board of Education meeting on June 20, 2013.
  • Design-Ed is a new national organization for K-12 design educators at founded with the guidance of Design-Lab Schools LLC.
  • The second National Design Education Conference occurred on June 27-28, 2014 at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia PA.
  • The first National Design Education Conference of the Design-Ed Coalition was held June 28-29, 2013. with speakers selected by Design-Lab Schools LLC.

XQ Super School & Bus Tour & Community Festival 9-20-2016

Fantastic fun was had by the school community at the XQ Super School & Bus Tour & Community Festival, on Tuesday Sept 20th. Design-Lab High celebrated the honor of being named an XQ Super School with the XQ Super School Bus, complementary food, fun, music, art, and festivities! Dignitaries included Governor Jack Markell, XQ Institute CEO Russlyn Ali, University of Delaware partners, Delaware's own Twin Poets, Dept of Ed leaders and a popular band led by Board Chair, Matt Urban. Co-Founders Dr. Alvarez and Dr. Rayala were proud to have launched a special school and continue to support the children and school community.

The Dream Came True. Design-Lab High Announced an XQ Super School 9-14-2016

On 14 September 2016 Design-Lab High was announced as one of ten Super Schools in the nation to win a $10 million prize for an innovative plan to rethink the American high school. Co-Founders Drs. Alvarez and Dr. Rayala were thrilled to have conceptualized, planned, funded, and launched an innovative school that would transform the lives of Delaware's children and be a model for others nation-wide. We were SO excited for the school's future as we worked to #RethinkHighSchool #XQBigReveal.

LearnXDesign2016 Conference. Design-Lab High faculty shared innovations 7-25 & 26, 2016 creating an XQ Super School.  June 25 & 26, 2016 at the LearnXDesign2016 Conference at the Dupont Environmental Education Center, Wilmington, Delaware Riverfront.  Design-Lab High's Principal, CEO Dr. Cristina Alvarez, and faculty lead a discussion about what it is like to start a high school from scratch and use Design Thinking across the curriculum.  Dr. Martin Rayala shared Design-Lab High's participation in the XQ Super School challenge. How can we rethink high schools and education in general to meet the needs of 21st century students?

Design-Lab High Broke Ground as a Finalist for XQ Super School $10M Prize 7-20-2016

On July 20, 2016, Russlyn Ali, CEO of the XQ Institute congratulated Design-Lab High as a FINALIST in the XQ Super School Project. The same day we celebrated breaking ground at the site of the new Design-Lab learning annex, cut a big red ribbon to inaugurate our first school year, and enjoyed a light dinner and fun movie under the stars.  Co-Founders Drs. Alvarez and Dr. Rayala were thrilled to have conceptualized, planned, funded, and launched an innovative school that would transform the lives of Delaware's children and be a model for others nation-wide.

Longwood Foundation Endorsement & Grant Award

2014 - Longwood Foundation granted Delaware Design-Lab High School $250,000. due to the innovative STEMD learning approach. Co-Founders Drs. Alvarez and Dr. Rayala are proud to have launched an innovative school that compelled a long-respected foundation to support the school financially.

Design-Lab High hosted "Most Likely to Succeed" film 5-20-2016

Design-Lab High hosted a free screening of Most Likely to Succeed, critically acclaimed film about reimagining education for the 21st century on Friday, May 20th, 2016  Important and timely info on ways to rethink high schools.

"Til Death Do Us Part" Design-Lab Theater Production 5-13 & 14, 2016

Design-Lab High students delivered a riveting interactive stage production...a murder mystery full of excitement.  Theater group students designed the production, lighting, sets, costumes, and makeup.  For months, students and staff who dedicated their time and energy to provide the community with a talent showcase on May 13 & 14, 2016. 

Design Aware Delaware Conference 1-29-2016

Design-Lab High hosted Design Aware Delaware, a "deep dive" to rethink high schools and imagine the future of education in the 21st century. This day-long event featured national keynote speakers, a student panel, and workshops for teachers, administrators, parents, students, community members, Board members, and higher educators. Attendees included those interested in joining Design-Lab's XQ Super School Project to brainstorm ways to redesign high schools for our youth.

Design-Lab High marches in downtown Wilmington Christmas Parade 11-29-2015

All I want for Christmas is... a great college prep education. We had a great time cheering the marching bands, Mayor Williams and City Council, welcoming Santa & sharing about Design-Lab High woth parents and kids at Wilmington's Christmas Parade on Saturday, Nov 29, 2015.

SPIRIT WEEK & FALL FESTIVAL 10-19 to 23, 2015

Spirit Week, October 19-23, 2015 - Students and faculty celebrated school spirit by wearing themed outfits. For Marvel Monday they dressed as super heroes. Time Travel Tuesday was a celebration of decades past. Wacky Wednesday saw many a mismatched outfit. On Team Spirit Thursday they donned sports team colors, hats, and face paint. And on Friday students and faculty proudly showed school spirit by wearning School Colors in red, black, grey and/or white.

Fall Festival, October 30 - Students and faculty worked hard to prepare a day of special activities that took place inside the school and outside on the beautiful campus green. Students wore creative costumes in many themes that they designed from scratch. Student volunteers planned and carried out games, photo booth, karaoke, snack stations, sports, instrumental music performances, and crafts stations.

This was so much fun for everyone!

First Days of School for Freshmen & Sophomores in SY 2015-2016

Opening days for Design-Lab High's 2015-2016 school year went well with Freshman Orientation on Monday, August 31st and Sophomore Orientation on Tuesday, September 1st. September 2nd marked the first day for all classes. A million thanks to the recruitment team, faculty, administrators, volunteer parents, and Board Members for supporting a wonderful school launch!

Pizza with the Principals and Founders, Meet & Greet 9-6-2015

The school community came together for a meet and greet between the new administrators and Design-Lab's students and parents. Everyone had fun breaking bread on the green on August 6th, 2015 at Design-Lab High's Newark campus. Co-Founders Drs. Alvarez and Dr. Rayala are proud to continue to support the school community.

Movie Night for Design-Lab families & friends 6-13-2015

On Saturday, June 13, 2015 a super-chill crowd of Design-Lab students and their families and friends came out to our outdoor movie night at Design-Lab High's Newark campus. All enjoyed snacks, drinks and a film, compliments of Design-Lab Schools LLC, the company that founded the school.  Check out the pix on


Power Picnic for Design-Lab's Super Heroes 5-8-2015

Our Design-Lab super hero students and their families and friends enjoyed a special picnic on Friday, May 8th, 2015 at the Newark campus. They played games, met new kids, and chowed down on beef franks, veggie burgers, salads & sweets. Thanks to parent Mr. Mulrooney and staff who prepared the picnic grounds and organized the event. Kudos to Dr. Rayala for manning the grill non-stop. Food was compliments of Design-Lab Schools LLC, the company that founded the school.

Design-Lab hosts a booth at Imagine Delaware 3-9-2015

On March 9th, 2015 Design-Lab was in the house at Imagine Delaware, Education EXPO & Open Forum at Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington DE. Visitors to the Design-Lab High booth learned about excellent school choices and qualified for special admissions prizes. Co-founders Dr. Alvarez and Dr. Rayala were on hand to answer questions and to assist the enrollment team.

2014 - DEEP DIVE Festival is a success!

For 5 special days in August 13-17, 2014, students, parents, teachers, community leaders and interns enjoyed Design-thinking workshops, food, and entertainment.

The Deep Dive Festival occurred at 519 N Market Street in Downtown Wilmington where Delaware Design-Lab High School will open in August 2015. Teenagers, Teachers, Innovators and Entrepreneurs took part in hands-on workshops on photography and video, drawing for design, and making things. Presenters included Wilington Renaissance speaking on the Creative District, the innovative Design-Lab High School staff, and the industrious Barrel of Makers, and University of Delaware discussions on how colleges and high schools can work together to make the city an amazing place to live, learn, work and play.

Special thank you to Mr. James Gilliam for generously funding the 18 middle and high school interns who learned so much as volunteers for the week!

2014 - Design-Lab booth @ Peoples' Festival Tribute to Bob Marley

On Saturday, July 26th, visitors to the Design-Lab High School booth heard about our great new charter high school opening in August 2015.

2014 & 2015 - Design-Lab booth at Ice Cream Festival @ Rockwood Park

Delaware Design-Lab High School drew a crowd at the Old Fashioned Ice Cream Festival at Rockwood Park, Wilmington DE, on Sat & Sun, June 27 & 28, 2014 and summer 2015. Visitors enjoyed an icy cone and heard about an innovative new charter high school opening in 2015 in Newark, DE.

2014 - First DEEP DIVE for Delaware Design-Lab High School

On Sunday, June 22nd, community leaders, parents, donors and Board Memebers put their heads together in a brainstorming event to help envision the cultural, economic and social impact of opening the Delaware Design-Lab School. The school is designed to integrate with existing innovative and entrepreneurial initiatives in downtown Wilmington. The group worked on answering the questions, "How would the future of downtown Wilmington be transformed by bringing together K-12 education, higher education, business, cultural, and political leaders in an afternoon of spontaneous collaboration?"  Exciting times!

2014 - Design-Lab High Featured on TV...

Reality Check & The Congo Hour featured Design-Lab High School on, Sunday, 16 March 2014, 8 pm on Comcast Channel 28. Featuring how the innovative Design Learning curriculum offered at Delaware Design-Lab High School would transform education for youth.

2014 - Longwood Foundation Endorsement

The Longwood Foundation Trustees granted Delaware Design-Lab High School a $250,000. challenge grant because they were:

  • Excited about the educational model we brought to Delaware
  • Impressed by the expertise of the Management Team
  • Confident that we can deliver the results in our grant application
  • Acknowledged that the Design-thinking model we proposed is the most innovative model they'd seen

Thanks to the Longwood Foundation for supporting our vision to prepare students with an innovative 21st century educational model.

++ Positive Press ++ in the Early Days 2013

WDDE, 91.1 FM, Delaware’s NPR news station spoke with Dr. Cristina Alvarez about Delaware Design-Lab High School in the school’s planning stage, January 2013.