An integrated program of
writing, design, art, and technology formerly at
Coronado High School, Coronado, California
a California Distinguished School,
a National Blue Ribbon School, and
a New American School and, beginning
Starting Fall 1999, alive and well at
the San Diego Jewish Academy.

This page contains material presented at the 11th Annual California Association of Leaders for Career Preparation (CALCP) and California Association of Regional Occupational Centers/Programs (CAROC/P) Joint Conference, November 18, 1998, in San Diego, California.
"WriteDesign, a unique class developed at Coronado High School (CHS), is based on the integration of writing, design, art, and technology. It is an outstanding example of the school fitting the students instead of the students fitting the school."
Jeffrey Davis, Ed.D., Principal, San Diego Jewish Academy
formerly of Coronado High School

Administrative Support

Under the enthusiastic leadership of Dr. Jeffrey Davis, Principal, Coronado High School, our community joined in restructuring efforts.

Dr. Davis encouraged us to dream of classes that were powerful for all students, classes we felt passionately about teaching, classes we felt would excite the students who represented the full spectrum of interest and ability but weren't being stimulated and nurtured in a way that addressed their personal learning styles and perspectives.

Dr. Dick Adams, Director, Coronado ROP, has fully supported our efforts to integrate writing, design, art, and technology.

Dr. Davis' focus on the "school fitting the students" represents a major departure from the traditional educational philosophy. Through his leadership and vision the faculty and staff have created meaningful curriculum guided by student interest with outstanding results. We have made dramatic changes, but we are not resting on our laurels. Change is a constant in life and at CHS. Stay tuned.


WriteDesign is a product of two teachers with common goals who were encouraged to dream.

We recognized our mutual respect and passion for our subjects, our students, and learning in general.

We realized when we worked together we strengthened each others' skills.

We also recognized we had a mutual need for challenge, stimulation, and a forum for our passions and voices


WriteDesign is

  • a daily, two-hour workshop class in which students create a variety of multimedia projects including writing, design, art, and technology.
  • two instructors team-teaching a course, coordinating instruction to empower students.
  • an opportunity for students to receive both English and practical arts/computer literacy credits in an integrated format.
  • a workshop format encouraging personal goal-setting, allowing students to grow and progress at their own rate.
  • instructors creating daily mini-lessons in thematic units that develop a particular skill or project.
  • instructors facilitating as-needed, on-demand requirements with customized instruction.

Semester Progress Rubric

Over the last three years we developed a set of criteria intended to focus our drive toward a more meaningful learning experience for both our students and ourselves. The following seven criteria appear on the semester rubric and address these issues:

  • Creating appropriate goals, focus, or topic areas
  • Collecting and ordering information that fulfills goals.
  • Presenting that information with clarity, grace; revision and editing are apparent.
  • Up-to-date with required assignments. (you must have completed ALL assignments to earn an "A" in course)
  • Taking risks and showing initiative.
  • Participating in class discussions, response groups, peer editing, open easels and readings, email if you have access, and other collaborative projects and activities.
  • Clearly reflecting on your learning (shared with instructors) using metacognitive tools (journals, sketchbooks, self evaluation, feedback from others, etc.).

Curriculum Ties

Fueled by WASC Accreditation, and numerous applications for grants and awards, the issues addressed in the semester rubric are directly tied to expected benchmarks for educational success.

  • WriteDesign easily and actively incorporates the state frameworks for English and art, the district vision, the Coronado High School Expected Schoolwide Learning Results, and ROPESLERs. Examples of this marriage include:
  • Self-directed learners are developed by providing each student with tools and opportunities to think critically.
  • Interpersonal and team-building skills are developed through the use of response groups, literature circles, collaborative learning, and Canvass, the Coronado High School literature and arts magazine.
  • Fundamental knowledge is demonstrated through rigorous projects that integrate writing, design, art, and technology.
  • School-to-career awareness is developed through the use of individual goal setting including self-assessment, and units on personal narrative writing, resumés, and research on colleges and scholarships that yield essays and applications.
  • School and community involvement is developed through submissions to the school newspaper; contributions to school projects in writing, design, art, and technology; the creation of Canvass; and our annual Portfolio Presentation Day.
  • Social conscience is developed through the study of core literature, selected readings, and a varied mix of media with global perspectives.

How We Use the Web Site

As a result of our interest in finding better ways to deliver our messages, staying on the cutting edge (we expect our students to take risks), and engaging our students, we developed a book of materials that turned into a constantly growing and changing web site. The WriteDesign online site explores alternative delivery systems intended to provide interactive learning opportunities. Although much of the site is, at this point, somewhat passive, we have several tools in development that should prove to increase interactivity.

Current course focal points include

  • Syllabus - the majority of course information uses the syllabus as a jump off point.
  • Assignments - all assignments are listed on the syllabus during the corresponding weeks and contain relevant information including components of the assignment, links to resources, and the rubric, e.g., The 21 Club.
  • Rubrics - the assessment of student work centers around a number of rubrics. Each assignment contains a rubric delineating not only the criteria for assessment, but also relevant support information, e.g., The 21 Club Rubric. There is also a rubric for each grading period, e.g., Six-Week Rubric.
  • Resources - numerous resources, both on site and online, exist to stimulate and facilitate student understanding and knowledge, e.g., CerebralFlatulence.
  • Gallery - the "icing on the cake" for both our students and ourselves is the student gallery. If there are pieces that "talk" to you, please e-mail us so that we may share your feelings with the artist.

Team Development Requirements for Teachers Considering Integration

  • individual readiness as equated by a willingness to make changes
  • individually perceived incentives that are sufficient to compensate for the additional time and effort
  • administrative support (emotional, organizational, financial)
  • choice of teammates that share goals, complementary skills and knowledge, and clear expectations
  • leadership and role definitions that divide the responsibilities equitably
  • planning and structure that facilitate more organization and documentation

For more indepth information on team development and peer coaching see the following sites:


As with any endeavor, both good and bad exist. There is no doubt that in the WriteDesign collaboration, the good far outweighs the bad. We encourage teachers and administrators to embrace collaboration and integration. It works. (See links listed above to peer coaching)

Shared ideas - two heads are better than one - we have the opportunity to play ideas off each other, exploring ideas not possible with only one perspective.

Divided workload - it is obvious that great teams share skill sets - we have the ability to focus on our strengths knowing that our partner is focusing on his/her own strengths.

Stimulation - how can you not be stimulated when you have the opportunity to try new ideas and work with someone who encourages you to push the limits?

Fun - use your imagination...if you're not having fun, then you should be doing something else.


Compromise - at times you have to follow your partner's dreams. Just do it, the rewards are amazing.

Time - when you work with someone else, they usually push you to do more than you would otherwise consider adequate, even more than you would consider excellent.

Reality check - watching someone else who is a model of excellence gives you reason to question your own ability. That's great, because without a benchmark for excellence you never push yourself to excellence.

Money - when doing more for the students, you inevitably want to do more than is perceived fundable, oh well...if you're teaching for the money...?

Site Map | WriteDesign Philosophy | Background | Rules of Thumb | Glossary | Quotes | WordList | Grades | Co-Teachers - Doug and Melissa | Gallery

E-Mail Doug at or Melissa at