SCHOOL AND UNIVERSITY TRANSFORMATION
"It used to be that parents and teachers tried to get transferred out of my school. Now I don't have time to answer all the calls from parents who want their kids to be part of this." --Rebecca Fuentes, Director, Esc. FMC
A four-year research project proved what we already knew: youth and educators tapping into the power of community and co-design is healing and empowering. What began as research became a transformational youth-led multi-generational climate action movement. And a new extended family.
The video is 33 minutes long, to make space for the students to tell their own stories. The initial commentary from Collaborators in Spanish and English (without subtitles) lasts for a little over 6 minutes. We are deeply grateful to Self-portrait documentarist Llaima Sanfiorenzo and Boricua musician Luis Rodriguez (Cayenito) for their loving devotion to these kids and their voices.
Stay tuned for more as the "processing" of the experience takes place: The Story as told by all of us, research publications, and a Guide for Educators on setting up projects like ACJ in your school.
ARS Guayanilla (January 2021)
After a year of virtual instruction, teachers at a public school in southwestern Puerto Rico reached out for some coaching. They had already learned about design thinking from CD-TIE when it was El Pueblo Unido Program, and they wanted to try it as a way of getting a group of seniors engaged again in school. They put together a team of teachers and students, and together we prototyped and co-created a Designing Our Lives mini-course, two hours a day for eight days. When they iterated and implemented it, nearly everyone showed up and stayed with it. One student said, "I realized that I have been avoiding thinking about my future. Now I know that I can sort it out."
I am proud to be working with RISE Network partners, to align university response to disaster and to promote community-based resilience and innovations in the face of climate change. The keystone to the bridge we are building from research to practice is the networks' alliance with students and educators of all kinds--social workers, psychologists, university and school teachers, community center leaders...and the communities they inhabit. To support them in the time of the earthquakes, DE4R donated four co-active workshops in February 2020, discussing the relationship between efficacy and resilience, and working together with participants to develop activities to teach and support youth and community efficacy.
DE PR (2017-2019)
Working with Maria Christian, Miguel Davila, school leaders, teachers (and a student!) from nearby, DE4R (DesignEd4Resilience) developed a guide to help teachers and students come back to school after Maria. Building back trust, self-confidence, and efficacy by validating teacher and student resourcefulness and collaborative and creative problem-solving, the guide laid the groundwork for PBL and design thinking habits of mind and skills, without requiring training, materials, or continuity. Since then, DE4R meets regularly with members of the DE facilitating the progress of design thinking across the curriculum, and collaborating to support the efforts of El Pueblo Unido Program, Echar Pa'lante, and other groups envisioning entrepreneurship & climate change innovation, youth-led educational change, and community partnerships. Together, we are forging a new educational and professional development system. Please contact us if you would like to see the Jump Start Guide we created to help teachers and students after disaster. There is a Spanish version available.
EL PUEBLO UNIDO PROGRAM (now CD-TIE)
An exchange program built on design thinking founded by a dynamic group of students from Design Tech High School in CA and Escuela Francisco Manrique Cabrera in Rexville/Bayamón, they have transformed one school and are on their way to two more. Intrigued by design thinking and its potential to drive change, more are waiting in the wings. EPU (now CD-TIE) offers training in design thinking in exchange for support of its professional work during intersession, which is a two-week dive into problem-solving, entrepreneurship and innovation, Mentoría, and explorations of new skills and careers. I am honored to promote the work of this student-led engine of change, supporting them and collaborating with them where I can, introducing them to community partners, creating more connections with East-Coast schools (Walkabout-Bronx visited to see what they could learn) and interns, helping to support their vision to scale, and adding a media project so students can tell their own story. Best of all, I get to create and implement design labs during intersession, including creating community resilience hubs, developing emergency management plans, and the Barrio Ingenio Resilience Project. Together with my ResilientSEE partners, the students got their work published:
ECHAR PA'LANTE (September 2017-Spring 2019)
Focused on their vision of an enterprising island, EP has created momentum around reskilling entrepreneurs, creating a resilient workforce, and incorporating their EFEC (Economics, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Creative Problem Solving) curriculum into the schools. In April 2018, I ran a conference on Design Thinking for them, shifting the paradigm to student-led learning with the help of the students from FMC and their school principal Rebecca, lead design thinking teacher Maritza, EPU leads Rob and José. Chief Innovation Officer (later Secý of Innovation and Information) Glorimár Ripoll stayed the whole day and joined us for dinner. Melding design thinking in business with design thinking in teaching and learning is a natural fit. I work to help the PR DE interpret the relationship between them to create momentum (developing PD around entrepreneurship and Thinking Labs (collaboration/makerspaces), and to run professional development for educators (180 at once in Feb. '19, with 20 facilitators!). In August 2018, I presented to an Echar Pa'lante audience of educators (both university and k-12) about Design Thinking and its capacity to build resilience. https://newsismybusiness.com/professionals-entrepreneurship-innovation/