Steve Ford, Increasing College Access with Design Thinking

The Path to Higher Ed is a SchooLinks hosted podcast community that explores trending topics and issues in the area of college and career readiness. Our featured guests are pushing education forward by constantly learning from, innovating and applying their college and career readiness practices.

In this episode, Steve Ford discusses how innovation was applied toward narrowing the opportunity gap for his students at Highland High School. He is now the Principal of Academies of the Antelope Valley Charter School. Remarkably, Steve has been able to apply the process of design thinking to get his students full ride scholarships to universities they would have been otherwise unable to afford. Listen to his story as he describes how he has been able to teach his students startup methodology and entrepreneurship while helping them craft their powerful narratives to get the attention of colleges.

Episode Link

About Steve Ford

Stephen Ford has been an Educational Leader in the Antelope Valley Union High School District for the past 18 years. During this time he has addressed diverse audiences in education, business, and the general public on leadership, education, and the innovative process and positive impact these have on each other when we understand their role. He has developed school and district wide programs that help students learn the innovation skills of association, questioning, idea networking, observing, and prototyping with the desired outcome of having students become producers of knowledge and developing their own powerful story.

He is responsible for leading the redesigning of a virtual education program that has had great success at seeing its students receive more money for college than any other district wide program. In fact, over 75% of all students that have participated in this program have received at least 50% of the resources needed to attend the college of their dreams. He believes that infusing the innovation process into the learning environment will prepare today’s students to become tomorrow’s critical and creative problem- solvers, set to shape the future of our world.

  • Presented several webinars in relation to Own your learning and educational reform and the technology used to support learning.

  • ISTE Poster Presentations — “The role disruptive innovation must have in helping us transform education / Learning Spaces that Support Skills Development

  • Sat on Mojave Air and Space Airport Engineering / Educational Reform committee

  • Speaker — Lancaster Chamber of Commerce — Educational Reform “Own Your Learning”

  • Speaker — Apex Conference — Orange County — “technology used to support educational reform”

  • Speaker — Los Angeles Regional. Edtech summit “Designing Spaces to Support Learning through Failure”

  • Speaker — Kiwanis Club community forum — “Education reform”

About Academies of the Antelope Valley Charter School

The vision for AVUHSD Academies of the Antelope Valley students is that they leave school as confident, critical thinkers prepared for advanced learning and career opportunities. Students will be proficient communicators who continually adapt their active and creative minds to a rapidly changing world. This is more important than ever.

The staff often jokes that many of its young students will have jobs in the future that have yet to be created. Their technological skills will have to be advanced in order to be competitive in higher education and eventually the work force. The faculty works hard to provide its students with a rigorous, equitable blended education that is heavily steeped in technology.

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