About CHAD

CHAD is at the vanguard of a national movement in K-12 design education. It is the the school where students find their voice and design their future.

Innovation is increasingly important in many fields and professions due to rapid change in technology, business models, and consumer demand for new products and services. Across grades and programmatic curriculum, CHAD aims to introduce students to an alternative approach to innovation and creative problem solving called Design Thinking.

Design Thinking is about seeing the world as it might be in the future, not necessarily as it is today. It is a structured and systematic process for innovating better solutions to complex and ambiguous problems.

Design Thinking creates, improves, and expands value across work and life. By centering its curriculum and teaching on design thinking, CHAD uniquely helps its students see, understand, define, articulate, approach, and explore complex and unfamiliar problems with greater creativity and confidence.


CHAD is the national model for integrated design education, where students discover the power within their hands and minds to meet the world’s challenges and design their future.


CHAD engages and educates Philadelphia students through the power of design thinking and introduction to creative career opportunities.


In pursuing its mission, CHAD values and believes:

  • Collaboration builds community.
  • Creative Thinking empowers dreams of what will be.
  • Passion develops the skill to sustain excellence.
  • Stewardship inspires responsible care of financial, physical and human resources.
Our Founding

CHAD was founded in 1999 by the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The school was founded on two principles: to provide a safe, academically sound, and stimulating high school for urban minority students; and given the very low percentage of licensed African American architects in the United States, to prepare African American students, especially, for collegiate study and training in the fields of architecture and design.