design-based pedagogy, STEM teacher experiences, school reform, STEM integration, secondary charter schools


Efforts to revamp existing educational systems and approaches result in various new models in STEM education. Accordingly, a new urban public charter school, located in a Midwest state in the United States, was established in partnership with the state’s land-grant university to create a transformed integrated STEM educational environment characterized by industry-focused and design-based learning to help prepare students for the future of work and learning. This article presents findings from an exploratory study that examined the experiences of teachers and administrative staff of this innovative high school (IHS) during the first year of school operation. A purposive sample of 16 teachers and administrators from the IHS completed a semistructured interview and a focus group. Several themes—related to the experiences during the first year of the school—from the interviews with the participants emerged including: (1) developing novel approaches for planning and implementing design-based learning cycles, (2) facing challenges with personalized learning, (3) establishing methods for creating authentic and industry-driven learning experiences, (4) addressing challenges with open-ended learning, (5) confronting concerns about competencies that are not measured through standardized assessments, (6) struggling with teacher burnout, and (7) challenging traditional school systems and facilities with integrated learning environments. Based on these findings, potential implications, considerations, and future directions for the implementation of innovative industry-driven, design-based educational approaches are provided.

Original Publication Citation

Bartholomew, S. R., Strimel, G. J., Lucietto, A., Akdere, M., & Santana, V. (2020). Reinventing High School: Understanding the Challenges and Successes of Transforming Education to Meet Student, Society, and Industry Needs. Journal of Technology Studies, 46(1), 2-19.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Technology Studies




Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering



University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor