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
Working with Maria Christian, Miguel Davila, school leaders (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
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. Many, many more are waiting in the wings. EPU offers training in design thinking in exchange for support of its professional work during intersession, a two-week dive into community-based problem-solving, entrepreneurship and climate change 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 at the DE PR and Echar Pa'lante, among government agencies planning for resilient schools and disaster-risk-reduction, 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. See design labs in action below!
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 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 run professional development for educators (180 at once in Feb, with 20 facilitators!). Last August, 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/