La Crosse
Design Institute
1900 Denton St | La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601 | 608-789-7670 | Fax: 608-789-7975


Project Based Learning


At the La Crosse Design Institute project-based learning seldom resembles a traditional classroom. Instead of formal, subject-oriented classes, individuals and groups of students choose, plan, research, and complete academic study and hands-on projects that result in a community-building presentation. Learning experiences take place outside the confines of the school building in the community whenever possible. This learning includes community experts and covers broad academic areas of study. Authentic learning requires students to develop life skills in time management, collaboration, flexibility, innovation, research, problem-solving, accountability, goal orientation, and meaningful applications of acquired knowledge.

Belief Statements

We believe each person is his or her own best teacher.

We believe students learn best when they are engaged in what they are learning.

We believe that the processes of learning (self-direction, curiosity, research, creativity, cooperation, and self-evaluation) are more important than any exact, fact-based curriculum.

We believe teaching students how to think rather than what to think is essential for student success.

We believe that parent and community involvement enhances learning.

We believe small school size creates a more cohesive learning community.

We believe that authentic learning through projects allows students to access their higher levels of thinking to incorporate their interests and motivators as they prepare to continue on their educational paths.

Typical LDI Schedule

7:35 – 8:15


8:15 – 9:00

Elective #1

9:00 – 9:45

Elective #2

9:45 – 10:00


10:00 – 11:00

Seminar #1

11:00 – 12:00

Seminar #2

12:00 – 12:30

Lunch with Longfellow 7th Grade

12:30 – 1:15


1:15 – 2:15

Project Block

2:15 – 2:45

Flex Block


Advisory is our community building time at the start of the day. Activities include sharing occurrences in our lives, games, current events, large group discussion, and progress monitoring.


Electives are choice classes taken with Longfellow 7th and 8th graders. These include band, orchestra, choir, Spanish/French, PE, Tech Ed, and/or FACE (Family And Consumer Education).


Seminars are a content specific class led by each advisor. Seminars are attended on a four week rotating basis separated in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Each rotation, a student will have a Humanities (Social Studies and Language Arts) and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) class.


TenMarks is our online math program that differentiates to each student’s math level. Students are self-paced by setting weekly objectives to complete.


Project Block is where students choose and work on a project of interest to complete for our Community Showcase. These projects last anywhere from nine to twelve weeks.


Flex Block is our flexible period of the day, where students or advisors choose what needs to be done. This may include reading, working on a project or seminar, and free time.