"Human resources are like natural resources; they’re often buried deep. You have to go looking for them, they’re not just lying around on the surface. You have to create the circumstances where they show themselves.”

- Sir Ken Robinson

The mission of IDEA University--through Project Based Learning, a focus on Design Thinking, and Standards-Based alignment--is to develop eight essential characteristics in our students that will foster thoughtful, responsible, confident learners who work towards making positive changes in the communities where they live and grow and contribute their unique voices, stories, abilities, and ideas. Hover over each characteristic below to learn more.


Neurological studies have shown that curiosity makes our brains more receptive for learning, and that as we learn, we enjoy the sensation of learning. It's no secret that curiosity makes learning more effective and enjoyable. Curious students not only ask questions, but also actively seek out the answers.


Creativity is putting your imagination to work. It is applied imagination. Creativity draws from many powers that we all have by virtue of being human. Creativity is possible in all areas of human life, in science, the arts, mathematics, technology, cuisine, teaching, politics, business, you name it. And like many human capacities, our creative powers can be cultivated and refined. Doing that involves an increasing mastery of skills, knowledge, and ideas.


Empathy builds positive classroom culture, strengthens community, and prepares students to be leaders in their community. Students with high levels of empathy display more classroom engagement, higher academic achievement, and better communication skills


Collaborative learning involves students working in pairs or small groups to discuss concepts or find solutions to problems. Similar to the idea that two or three heads are better than one, educational researchers have found that through peer instruction, students teach each other by addressing misunderstandings and clarifying misconceptions


Students talk a lot, and that's a good thing! Talking and communication aren't "extra things." Communication involves students discussing ideas with each other and coming up with their own conclusions. Communication supports thinking and empathy, and that means it supports learning too.


Throughout their lives, students encounter problems that are complex, not well defined, and lack a clear solution and approach. They need to be able to identify and apply different strategies to solve these problems. Students must be able to normalize failure and adversity by learning and using strategies that give them the tools they need to work independently, and with others, to resolve those problems.


Many mistakenly believe innovation has to do with the use of technology or new inventions. Innovation encourages students to explore, research and use all the tools to uncover something new. It involves a different way of looking at problems and solving them. The thinking process that goes into it will help students develop their creativity and their problem solving skills.


Research shows that giving reflection time is valuable to students as a means of creating greater self-awareness, appreciating process as well as product, and deepening one’s learning. Self-reflection heightens an awareness of one’s most effective learning strategies, as well as pointing out areas where an individual student might devote more time and attention.