The Innovation Trimester (I-Tri) is a new program where Loomis students spend a term outside of their regular classes identifying and solving problems in the local Windsor/Greater Hartford area.
Members of the Class of 2019 at Loomis completed the inaugural I-Tri in May of 2019.
Students practice human-centered design and learn project management techniques and skills.
The mission of the Innovation Trimester is to provide the time and space for students to create something meaningful that will have a positive impact on others. Students will develop a sense of agency and empowerment, and realize the positive impact that they can have on the world around them.
The Innovation Trimester supports the mission of the school, which inspires in students a commitment to the best self and the common good. Through Loomis's excellent academic curriculum, students develop their best selves and gain deep knowledge in particular academic and extracurricular areas. The Innovation Trimester gives students the opportunity to expand the breadth of their knowledge and skills, including empathy, required to be a part of an interdisciplinary team that is trying to make a positive difference in the world. This supports their commitment to the common good.
The Innovation Trimester is a capstone experience through which meaning is brought to a student's education beyond the pursuit of academic knowledge. Students will develop passion and purpose through the completion of projects which have an impact on individuals in the local community. Through rich projects, students will develop their creative confidence, initiative, resilience, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, empathy, and communication skills.
Students enrolled in the Innovation Trimester will be enrolled in the following courses:
This course offers a survey of theory and practice related to one-on-one and small group communications as well as an introduction to the art of public speaking. Throughout the term, students will find themselves in a variety of communications settings, and students will explore the role of communication in the development of self, perceptions, relationships, and meaning while understanding complexities in the communication process, including: listening, nonverbal communication, speech apprehension, ethics, power, and conflict. Additionally, students will regularly design and deliver speeches and presentations to authentic audiences. In addition to utilizing sound research, analysis, organization, and persuasion, students will learn to effectively employ audio visual elements in their speeches.
Rhetoric in Theory and Practice
Aristotle defines rhetoric as “the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion.” This course introduces students to rhetorical theory, teaches them to develop critical interpretations of rhetorical devices in print and digital texts, and ultimately challenges them to employ a variety of rhetorical strategies as they craft their own arguments in a variety of modalities and for a variety of audiences. Students will learn to think about language, speech, and argument as powerful forces when addressing political, cultural, and economic issues both locally and globally. This course is designed to help students learn how to identify issues amid conflicting points of view and craft arguments based on various sources of information.
Advanced Humanities Research Skills
Students will engage in and learn how to perform research related to human-centered problem-based challenges. Students will learn how conduct interviews, collect and analyze interview data, and present their findings to an authentic audience. Students will dive into topics using research to guide their collective projects and solutions. Students’ individual research will be both disciplinary and interdisciplinary and will be shared with the entire cohort to drive the collective projects.
Students will learn and use a design thinking approach to solve problems having a societal benefit. Students will learn project management skills and apply those skills to several long term projects. Students will learn about the history, structure and operation of profit and non-profit organizations and will work closely with local businesses and non-profits on real world challenges.
Quantitative Research and Statistical Analysis
Students will learn how to collect, analyze and present quantitative data to an authentic audience. The course will introduce tools for decision making under uncertainty, including decision theory and statistical models. Students will use study statistical sampling, use simple software for data analysis, and learn to draw inferences from data. In this course, students will go beyond mathematical modeling and be able to transform data into strategic decisions for their projects. Students will learn the fundamentals of business models and marketing as it pertains to real world problems.
The following characteristics and skills will be developed and assessed throughout the Innovation Trimester program.
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
- Identify, define, and solve authentic problems
- Collect, assess, and analyze relevant information
- Reflect critically on learning experiences, processes, and solutions
- Creativity and Innovation
- Use a wide range of idea creation techniques (brainstorming, divergent & convergent thinking)
- View failure as an opportunity to learn; understand that creativity and innovation is a long-term cyclical process of small success and frequent mistakes
- Act on creative ideas to make a tangible and useful contribution to the field in which the innovation will occur
- Initiative and Self-Direction
- Set goals with tangible and intangible success criteria
- Utilize time and manage workload efficiently
- Monitor, define, prioritize, and complete tasks without direct oversight
- Persist to accomplish difficult tasks and to overcome academic and personal barriers to meet goals
- Articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using oral, written, and nonverbal communication skills in a variety of forms and contexts
- Listen effectively to decipher meaning, including knowledge, values, attitudes, and intentions
- Demonstrate understanding of others’ perspectives and needs
- Listen with an open mind to understand others’ situations
The students will go through several design cycles using a human-centered design process. The early projects will be facilitated by the faculty and the later projects will grant students more independence in their work.
As seen in the schedule below, students will have time to learn and practice techniques required for their projects, such as interviewing, agile/scrum frameworks, data analysis, and public speaking.
The last and largest challenge in the program will allow students the opportunity to use their skills to find and define the question/problem worth solving.
- Who is eligible for the I-Tri?
- Where will the I-Tri take place?
- Why should students participate in the I-Tri?
- Can students still participate in interscholastic athletics while in the I-Tri?
- How will the I-Tri appear on students' transcript?
- What happens to students' full-year classes?
- What about AP Exams . . .
- Do students need to be on campus every evening?
- How do students apply?
- Is this program only for “A” students?
- Who is teaching/running this program?
- How can parents get involved?
- What about graduation requirements?
- How will students spend their days?
- How does the I-Tri intersect with the rest of the Loomis community and its routines?
- Can seniors enrolled in the I-Tri participate in a senior project?
The "home base" of the I-Tri will be in the Pearse Hub for Innovation, situated on the ground floor of the newly renovated Campus Center building. However, the students in the program will use a variety of locations for their learning which will be determined by the activity they are doing at any given time.
The days will be spent in a traditional classroom in the Pearse Hub for Innovation as well as in the field. There will be time spent outside of the classroom researching, interviewing, observing, and getting feedback to aid students in their design process. There will be time spent in the classroom collaborating, designing, and prototyping. As the term progresses, the students might have more flexibility with their daily schedules, with regular check-ins from adults and other faculty members. A schedule is below:
Here are some sample programs at Loomis Chaffee that might intersect with a student's time in the I-Tri, and our solutions to these.
Students will fulfill their work job requirement in the Pearse Hub for Innovation.
Students will keep their advisor for the entire year. During the program, if there are required advisor meetings, students in the I-Tri will attend those meetings.
Convocations, Class Meetings, Family Style Dinner, Clubs
Students will participate in required community events such as convocations, class meetings, and family style dinner. Students can participate in clubs as long as the meeting times do not conflict with the requirements of their I-Tri schedule.
Boarding students who are RAs will remain in their position during the spring term.