Frequently Asked Questions:

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Who will be going to D39C? What are the boundaries?

A: Design39Campus is a school of optional enrollment for families that live within the boundaries of Poway Unified School District. Please click here to learn more about enrollment.

Q: Will students need an interview to attend D39C?

A: No. Enrollment will NOT involve student interviews.  Design39Campus will not be interviewing children or families. We want all community members to feel welcome. Please click here to learn more about enrollment.

Q: What will the learning experiences be like at D39C?

A: For more information on the engaging learning experiences that will be happening at Design39Campus, please view this video:  Learning Experiences

Q: How much input/choice will students have in their own learning?  How can you ensure he/she is getting that creative time to explore his/her passions? 

A: Student voice and choice is a theme for us. At D39C, choice will be embedded throughout the entire learning process. Students are encouraged to explore their passions and ways to express themselves creatively and build agency.

Q: How many teachers will my child have?

A: Students do have one teacher (Learning Experience Designer - LED) who will act as their main teacher and that teacher will be part of a small team of teachers of 5-6 who will collaborate together and plan integration of curriculum and learning experiences. This is true TK-8.

Q: Are my kids going to be constantly switching classrooms and LEDs?

A: No. Children will have a core group of LEDs who will be there for them. We believe the best learning happens in a trusting relationship where children know they can trust their educators.

Q: I've heard there is going to be multi-age classes. Is that true? 

A: The best answer is, yes and no. All children will be in grade level type homerooms and will most likely spend their day with similar aged children. If a child is ready for advanced learning tasks, we aren't going to stop them from advancing. It is important to unthink the traditional one classroom one teacher all day paradigm of elementary school. Small teams of LEDs will work with your child and different age children may join for classes when appropriate. Think multi-age moments. 

Q: How will you utilize the large and small spaces on campus?

A: For more information on learning spaces at D39C, click here.

Q: Will the class sizes be smaller?

A: We are funded the same way as all of the other schools in our district. We look for ways to help the student to teacher ratio. 

Q: Do you mean my seven year-old will be in a class with a thirteen year old? 

A: Most likely, that will not happen. Again, the idea ISN'T to mix kids just because we can. We want students to be working at their level of challenge in purposeful groupings. We have students who are gifted in subject areas and want to move on and not be forced to sit in a class where they aren't learning simply because they are a certain age. And in the event your child wants the challenge but is terrified of a setting with older students, of course they will not be forced. We are here to meet their needs and be empathetic to the individual. Your child will not only be in environments where they can be most successful, they will be also be encouraged to explore and discover different ways/styles of learning so they can discover HOW they learn best. 

Q: I've heard that TK-8 will all have lunch and recess together. Is this true?

A: D39C is fully conscious of the developmental differences between the various ages of students that will be attending our school. With this in mind, lunches and recess times will vary for different age groups in order to ensure the safety and comfort of our students. We have four different lunch times in order to accommodate students' needs.

Q: Will children have enough time to eat?

A: Yes. Nutrition is vital to learning and we are not putting schedules before student needs.

Q: What about discipline and safety?

A: Safety is our first priority so we are planning around that all the time. We use a positive behavior support design to help students learn how to manage their behavior and provide targeted support for when they need help. The punitive systems of yesteryear, detentions, sign-ins, chill chairs, etc. do not work to change behavior and promote an atmosphere of learning. We have many years of success in PUSD using positive behavior support and we will build on this at D39C. Of course extremes of behavior have consequences through school board policy and those will be enforced.

Q: What about social skills?

A: Social skills and interpersonal communication are vital to a collaborative learning environment and will be a focus of our work.

Q: Will there be collaboration with high school? Will students have opportunities for tutoring from high school?

A: Del Norte Hight School students work on campus as teaching interns and use their off roll class time to volunteer. The list of high school students ready to join us with their Super Powers is growing! If you are a Del Norte student interested in volunteering, please click here.

Q: How will children use technology? And how will technology play a part at school?

A: Being a 1:1 campus means we use technology as a tool for learning. We are a Bring Your Own Device campus. Some students will bring the devices they already have, other families may elect to use a school provided device.  We will be as device agnostic as possible so families will have many choices.  As children progress in skills and age, electronic writing, creating, blogging, etc. will be used more to facilitate deeper learning and preparing students for the real world and career readiness. Learn more about technology at D39C by clicking here.

Q: So are children going to be working by themselves in front of an electronic device all day?

A: No. Children will be using technology as a learning tool daily, but children will not be glued to electronic screens doing tasks all day long by themselves. Collaboration with teachers and other students is too important. Students and teachers will use electronic devices when appropriate for a given situation - we don't just use technology because it's there, we use it to make learning meaningful and real in our different learning environments. 

Q: What will math and science look like at D39C?

A: For more information on the integration between math, science, and coding, please watch this video: Math and Science

Q: Has D39C always been planned to be progressive?

A: Yes. Our previous superintendent, John Collins, articulated a vision of a school that would be a type of lab school where innovation would be part of the norm with the goal of best practices spreading throughout the district. This is why it is a school of choice. He asked us to "Change the way we do school to ensure a personalized learning experience for every student."

Q: I've heard D39C has open classrooms like in the seventies. Is that true?

A: No. We have traditional and non traditional classroom spaces and there are walls and doors. We are not recycling fads from the past. Our goal is adjust what we do and how we do it to meet the needs of all students.

Q: Is this an engineering school?

A: We are not an engineering school. We will be infusing engineering in science instruction and science will be important TK-8.

Q: Is this an art school?

A: "Design" does not mean we are doing art all day long. We are comprehensive in our approach and we want to nurture creativity. We will teach design thinking and use the design process to create learning experiences. Check out the Stanford for more information on design thinking.

Q: So is this a Montessori school? 

A: No. There are great ideas in Montessori schools and we are not planning on mimicking that approach.

Q: So is this just like High Tech High?

A: No. HTH has a school that offers one option for schooling and we are not replicating their plan. Some ideas will be similar, but our vision for D39C isn't being done, to our knowledge...and we have been looking!

Q: How will grading work?

A: We are focusing on how to measure progress rather than computing a grade which can be meaningless. We all know students who earn A's and don't know what they need to and others who are denied B's or A's simply because they didn't complete paperwork and yet they get nearly 100% on tests. Progress and personal challenge is our goal.

Q: Will there be accountability for all students doing projects?

A: Yes. That is the goal for all learners to be doing their part in all settings and we will be monitoring those situations.

Q: I have heard this school is paperless. How do you expect kids to learn if they don't write?

A: This rumor is not true. Paper, writing, drawing are all great ways to work quickly when creating. At D39C we use paper - just less of it. Of course children need to draw, write, and use lined paper. They don't need stacks of paperwork to drag home to complete at night just because we have always done that. They don't need fill in the blank paperwork in piles to learn either. We intend to do what is developmentally appropriate and that also means switching to digital work as children move through their years at D39C. So over the course of their education they will use the tools that are most appropriate.

Q: I like what Design39Campus is about, but I'm worried about my child's transition from your school to a traditional High School. Will she/he be prepared for high school?

A: The real question is going to be, "Are the high schools ready for your kids?". At D39C, we will focus on educating the whole child as they prepare themselves for their 21st century future, whatever that looks like to them. Students will develop a natural curiosity about the world as they seek out challenging problems and become connected, critical thinkers. Also, rest assured, our staff is equipped with what we like to call content and curriculum "specialists" that know all about the Common Core and specific content standards. One of our mantras is "the Common Core is the floor" so we go way beyond what is expected of them by the state. A graduate of D39C will have the skills necessary to navigate new learning environments and adapt as needed. The real world, beyond school, demands adaptability and agility so we will be teaching students in ways that grow their capacity to change.  Our students will be Life Ready.

Q: How will you help struggling learners with early intervention and the special education process?

A: We will be work with our special education team to design the intervention process for special education and create a way to help struggling learners. 

Q: Will there be time for kids who need help?

A: Yes and also kids who need acceleration.

Q: Will you need parent volunteers?

A: Absolutely! We plan to utilize parents with instruction which will mean a parent training program will be created in the spring.  We would love to have parents share their superpowers (areas of expertise) with D39C students. To learn more about volunteering, please click here.

Q: Is there a school garden?

A: We have a fully functioning garden in the front of our school. To learn more about the D39C Garden, please contact Kelly Eveleth at

Q: Are arts a part of the curriculum at D39C?

A: That's an enthusiastic yes! The arts will be critical to creating an atmosphere of innovation and the focus will be on exploring the arts and making art, music, etc.

Q: What about PE?

A: Traditional PE classes, where running is the focus, is not the best fit for all kids. We want to work in new ways to enhance the elementary experience while giving more creative options too. To learn more Minds in Motion (our version of PE), click here.

Q: What kind of library resources will be available?

A: At D39C, our "library" is a bit different from most schools. Along with stacks of books, the Loft @ D39C is an open and inviting space for kids of all ages to read, study, and relax with their peers. Our Loft is filled to the brim with tons of books. We have worked very hard to create a digital and paper Library collection to keep up with all best features of the 21st Century Library new and keeping some wonderful traditional library’s tradtions. An awesome features is our Loft doesn’t “check out books” our students borrow books on the honor system. Students reshelf their own books even Kinders. This gives our students a sense of ownership of the space. To learn more about The Loft at D39C, contact Barb Hamilton at

Q: What about sixth grade camp?

A: We certainly like outdoor education as many of us have participated in this type of program for years. We evaluate all of our programs annually and information about field trips and other educational opportunities will be addressed by homeroom LEDs.

Q: Will you teach keyboarding?

A: This is an interesting question as the concept of students sitting at keyboards is not a reality at young ages. While most students keyboard with their thumbs on phones by 6th grade, we also know they do need some keyboarding skills that students learn in context. 

Q: Will my child be coming home with a ton of homework every night?  

A: No. Our kids will be encountering many challenging learning experiences during the school day and we believe that much of their learning will happen in a collaborative environment with other students and staff. Our hope and dream is that kids become so passionate about topics that they choose to continue their own learning at home just because they want to gain new knowledge. It will be more common for students to work on longer term items, including writing and researching, as well as prepping for their projects at school. 

Q: Does D39C have budget constraints?

A: Absolutely. All PUSD schools have budget guidelines to work with each year.

Q: It was a shock for us to attend another school that tried something different and my older children have learning issues as a result. How are you deciding what you are doing and how will we know?

A: First, it is our goal to be completely transparent with our planning and we want community members involved from day one. Since D39C is a school of optional enrollment, we want you to know exactly what we are about. Second, we are designing a learning environment that will be different in order to meet the needs of today's learners so they are ready for the world they will inherit. Sitting silently in rows, reading textbooks, answering textbook questions, etc. are not what we are about. We are working with schools across the country, people involved in pushing the educational boundaries, industry leaders, and experts in the field of education to create the best learning environment for children. Yes, your children will learn phonics, write on lined paper, and learn how to read and do math. It is our plan to make those learning opportunities engaging and interesting for them so they never lose the joy of learning. Filling out stacks of homework packets is not what we are about. 

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