Matt Haney came to the d.school fresh off a landmark victory—his election to the San Francisco School Board. Matt received more than 100,000 votes and is the youngest commissioner. A recent graduate of Stanford Law School and the Stanford Graduate School of Education, Matt has dedicated the last year to working full-time as a member of the school board. He has learned and applied design thinking principles to his day-to-day work with students, parents, teachers and administrators.
The project: Student Voice Lab
There is a foundation of design thinking in nearly everything Matt’s done as a school board member this year. All of the resolutions he’s sponsored have drawn on the empathy work he was able to conduct as a d.school fellow. Matt introduced a groundbreaking resolution to implement alternatives to schools suspensions and reduce the disproportionate number of minorities and boys who are removed from the classroom. He helped overturn an outdated policy banning student hats. And his interactions with hundreds of students at more than 40 schools led him to address other student needs that are often ignored, including issues with school bathrooms and water fountains, student governments and school food. Matt’s most ambitious work as a fellow was the creation of the Student Voice Lab. The Lab gave 20 high school students the opportunity to learn design thinking and apply it to aspects of their school experience, giving them the chance to have their voice reflected in the day-to-day administration of their schools. There are plans to expand the Lab next year to ensure student-led innovation remains a permanent fixture in district operations.
The impact of Matt’s work has affected thousands of people both directly and indirectly. From the resolutions he introduced and helped pass to the creation of the Student Voice Lab, Matt has applied student-centered design to nearly every level of the administration of San Francisco public schools. Matt’s goal is to continue to provide students with tools to address complex problems and access to decision-makers, to ensure student needs are at the center of the district’s agenda.
Matt is a 2013-2014 EDUfellow and can be found at @matthaneysf.