Studio D Practices and Protocols 2016-2017

Our mission is to empower students to think differently,  take risks, innovate, and collaborate on real and relevant challenges.


Inspired by a Splashpress Media brand, 9rules, Studio D has adopted the following list of “norms.” We hold these beliefs dear, and teachers and students alike promise to uphold them throughout their participation in Studio D. These norms guide us daily in everything we do and in every solution and product we create.

1. Love what you do.

2. Never stop learning.

3. Form works with function.

4. Simple can be beautiful.

5. Work hard, play hard.

6. You get what you pay(work) for.

7. When you talk, we listen.

8. Must constantly improve.

9. Keep it about the brownies.

10. Respect your inspiration.

Entering, Continuing, and Exiting Studio D

Students are admitted to the Studio D program via an application process that includes consideration of academic records, student written responses, and teacher recommendation. Once admitted into the program, students have the opportunity to complete four years of Studio D curriculum. 

In their first year as a part of Studio D, students have an opportunity to drop the classes/program during the traditional drop/add period offered to all students at Westwood High School for all classes. Once the drop/add period has passed, students remain in the program for the duration of that school year, consistent with all other students at Westwood in all other classes.

If a student wishes to exit the program at the conclusion of one school year and prior to the start of the next, he or she must complete an exit survey or interview with the lead teacher. The student will not be prevented from exiting the program but will be asked to consider and to articulate why he or she would like to leave. Our exit interview process helps us maintain standards for our program, address any concerns, and create the best experience for all students and their families.

Students who fail one or more of their Studio D courses with a grade below 50 may not continue on in the Studio D program. Students who fail one or more of their Studio D courses with a grade between 50 and 59 and who successfully complete credit recovery may continue on in the Studio D program at the discretion of the lead teacher.

In rare case-by-case circumstances a student may be removed from the Studio D program due to administrative intervention. In this instance, the lead teacher or administrator will contact the student and his or her parents for an exit interview. Administration will only consider removing students from the program if it is deemed to be in the student's best interest or if student behavior creates such a  disturbance that it is an irreconcilable detriment to other students in the program. Once a student has been removed from Studio D due to administrative intervention, he or she may not reapply for the program in future years.


Each Studio D grade level team has a unique plan for communicating with students and parents. Some of their strategies include use of a blog, Google calendar, email updates, Google classroom, class websites, and phone calls, just to name a few. Each grade level team will let their students know how they intend to communicate information and share assignments.

Parents and students are also able to check grades on Parent Portal at any time, and they can always email teachers with questions and concerns. Students, please do not be afraid to approach your teachers, face-to-face or via email when you need help in any way!  

Outside of the face-to-face interaction in the classroom each day, much of our communication with students about homework, upcoming deadlines, etc. will be handled electronically; therefore, the student must let the teacher know in a timely manner if this poses a problem so alternate arrangements can be made.


Within any grading quarter, all Studio D teachers will calculate grades using a total points method: each assignment will be worth a particular number of points, and students’ grades on that assignment can be determined by dividing the number of points earned by the number of possible points available. For example, if a homework assignment is worth 14 points, and a student earns 12 points, that student has scored an 86% on that assignment (12/14). The quarter and semester grades are then weighted, depending on the course. Each teacher will let their students know how they intend to weight the quarter grades.

Due to the nature of our program and our collaborative design challenges, Studio D students will receive both individual and group grades, as they would in any other traditional class that includes group projects. Please note that the majority of a student’s grade will reflect his or her individual work. A student will never fail a Studio D course due to their involvement in group activities or who they are partnered with.

Studio D courses use a combination of both formative and summative assessments.

Formative assessments are assessments for learning. Formative assessments are those assessments used by teachers during the learning process to assess student progress and to adapt techniques and strategies to help students learn and improve. During a design challenge, formative assessments may or may not be graded, and when graded, may often be revised and resubmitted (what students call a “Bingo”) for a higher grade, to achieve mastery of the skill. A formative assessment must be complete upon initial submission in order to be considered for the bingo process.  Any formative assessments that are allowed to be revised and resubmitted (“Bingo’ed”) must still be completed within a specific window of time set by the teacher. Students will not be able to revisit an assignment once that deadline has passed and will not be able to revisit an assignment upon completion of the design challenge it is a part of. Please remember that the primary focus for a “Bingo” is to allow a student to learn and to achieve mastery of content/skill, not necessarily to allow a student to improve his or her grade.

Summative assessments are assessments of learning, i.e., to provide a summary of what has been learned. Summative assessments are those assessments which occur after the learning has taken place; these often include tests, exams, final drafts, final/formal presentations, and final product delivery. These have hard deadlines and may not be redone or resubmitted by the student (cannot be “Bingo’ed”).

Students should take advantage of all formative assessments and all opportunities to resubmit (“Bingo”) work to better prepare to be successful on the summative assessments.

Critique & Revision

Honest critique and feedback, both from peers and from teachers, is a huge part of what we do in Studio D. We believe no one can improve without first acknowledging their weaknesses and reflecting on honest feedback and evaluation. Please know that all critique and criticism is of the work, never the individual. All critique and criticism is constructive and is provided in the spirit of helping the student create better quality work and achieve his or her highest potential. It is not personal in any way! (Ask your student “about the brownies”) Students receive direct and extensive instruction at all grade levels on how to accept criticism and critique gracefully and professionally and how to use this feedback to improve the quality of their work. Consistent failure to take critique seriously or a student’s inability to accept constructive criticism may negatively affect the student’s grade and severely hinder his or her ability to complete Studio D work.


As in life, students in Studio D courses may at times face situations which hinder their progress on a particular challenge. Situations in which someone is fired might include failure to meet deadlines, failure to work appropriately as part of a team, inability to master a skill (after a significant amount of time, practice, and remediation), or inability to submit work that is of a high enough quality to move on to the next task, just to name a few. At the teachers’ discretion, when individual students encounter these situations, they may be fired off the original group project pathway and reassigned a course of action that may result in a different end product or goal but one which will allow them to be successful in mastering the content and skills for that challenge. Please realize, however, that students who are fired in such a way are fired because of their own individual actions and choices or because of their own individual difficulties mastering content and skills; therefore, a situation in which one is fired may result in a lower grade for that student on that particular challenge. At the teachers’ discretion, sometimes a job fair will be held for those who have been fired to have an opportunity to join another team based on their individual needs and skills.

Code of Conduct

Studio D students are Westwood’s pride and joy!

Studio D students are given access to resources and opportunities that other students may not have, and they are also given more independence and freedom as they move about the school to complete their Studio D challenges. Therefore, students are expected to abide by a code of conduct which demands the most impeccable behavior at all times.

Students who are consistently in places they should not be, who are off task when left to work independently, who are disruptive to other classes, or who violate school rules while out of the classroom will receive discipline referrals and parent contacts, as well as loss of privileges. Please realize that loss of these privileges will negatively affect a student’s grade and will severely hinder his or her ability to complete Studio D challenges.

Another component of the ethical behavior we expect from Studio D students includes respect for all of their classmates and willingness to work with everyone, regardless of personal opinion or preference. In this same vein, students are also expected to exhibit professionalism in all of their interactions, including face-to-face encounters and electronic communication, including their use of private social media accounts.

Finally, students are expected to act morally and ethically in all of their academic pursuits. Cheating or plagiarism of any kind will not be tolerated and consequences will be severe. Consequences include parent contacts, discipline referrals, as well as receiving a grade of “0%” on a plagiarized assignment, including more heavily weighted essays, that they will then NOT have the option to resubmit (“Bingo.”) Studio D students receive explicit and extensive instruction about what plagiarism is and how to avoid it at every level of our program; therefore, the expectation is that students will avoid plagiarism at all costs, whether it be accidental or purposeful.


Studio D relies heavily on the use of technology, in particular student-issued Chromebooks. All Studio D students are expected to maintain a working and charged Chromebook and to bring their charged device to class every day.

If a student habitually fails to bring their charged device to class, he or she is not prepared for class and consequently his or her grade may be negatively affected. Furthermore, students are expected to use their Chromebooks appropriately and only at times indicated by the teachers. Misuse of a Chromebook, desktop computer, or other electronic device is a violation of the Responsible Use Policy signed by students and will result in loss of technology privileges. This in turn may negatively affect a student’s grade and will severely limit his or her ability to complete Studio D coursework.

The responsibility for maintaining a working, charged Chromebook and having it ready to use in class falls to the student. While extenuating circumstances do arise and will be considered, teachers are not required or expected to make alternate arrangements for students who are not prepared due to their own negligence with or misuse of electronic devices.

Honors Courses and Credits

Some of our Studio D courses are offered at both the college prep level and the honors level. Students must decide which level they intend to pursue prior to the deadline issued by the school for level changes. Students who have not been recommended for honors by their previous teacher will need to submit a signed waiver to take the honors option, just as other Westwood students in other honors classes. Students who choose the honors track will complete honors level work - work that is extended, accelerated, more complex, and more independent. Honors level students may be asked to complete assignments such as additional reading outside of class, more complex reading within class, additional research requirements for papers and projects within class, additional essays outside of class, additional presentations, etc. The honors courses may require a greater quantity of work as well as more complex and more rigorous work. Once the school’s deadline for level changes has passed, students must remain in that track they chose (college prep or honors) and complete the work associated with that curriculum.  

Tool Room

Some Studio D challenges may require use of the tool room and the tools therein. Therefore, part of our Studio D curriculum covers tool safety, and students are expected to master safety and tool skills for all tools in the tool room prior to being allowed access. Mastery will be determined by both written and hands-on assessments. Failure to demonstrate mastery of tool safety of all tools will result in a student being denied access to tools and the tool room. Any inappropriate behavior once inside the tool room will result in loss of privileges for the student. This may negatively affect a student’s grade and make it very difficult for him or her to complete their Studio D work. There will be a 1:8 teacher:student ratio in the tool room at all times with a maximum of 16 students at one time.

In conclusion

We, the Studio D teachers, with the help of Westwood administrators and leaders, have developed these practices and protocols thoughtfully, over time, and based on common questions, experiences, and concerns from all stakeholders (teachers, parents, students, business leaders, and the community). In the spirit of critique and revision, we reserve the right to modify these practices as needed to better serve our students.

If you have questions, concerns, or ideas about our program we welcome your input! Please do not hesitate to contact any of the Studio D teachers, or the lead teacher, to let us know what you think. Ashley Auspelmyer is the lead teacher of Studio D. She is best reached via email ( You can also call her at 691-4049, extension 36107.

We look forward to another outstanding year with our Studio D family! Welcome!