Ryan Welch was selected to speak at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) conference in February to share his insights on Impact Design Lab, the innovative Mount Vernon signature Middle School program he co-creates and co-teaches with Kevin Day, and Dr. Todd Wass. The Grade 8 program focuses on developing students’ people-centered problem-solving skills using design thinking while encouraging them to make a positive impact in their community. During his presentation, Welch shared how his students used a collaborative approach, starting with questions, to address several problems and opportunities at the School, including accessibility, teacher appreciation, lunchtime belonging, and the Mustang Rally Derby. His speech emphasized the importance of empowering students with the agency to become active participants in creating change and the positive impact such initiatives can have on students’ personal growth and development. Check out his speech below.