How do we help young people recognize their own agency to create change in their hometowns?


Partners: Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools, the Nekoosa School District, and Port Edwards School District (Wisconsin)

Type: Professional development, experiential learning design and coordination, curriculum design and support, assessment


Prior to joining Ei Studio, Betsy Ramaccia designed and launched a community-and project-based learning program with six educators and sixty-six students at four public schools in south Wood County, Wisconsin during the 2016-2017 school year through Why We Work Here


In the program, which educators facilitated during school hours, students selected a local issue - the heroin/opioid epidemic - and used a design thinking and adaptive leadership process to engage with diverse people and perspectives, diagnose the root causes of the issue, and collaboratively test solutions in response. Educators and students learned skills and mindsets in self- and social awareness; relationship building; growth mindset; self-efficacy; iterative problem solving; and developed “community literacy,” a systemic understanding of the region’s issues, assets, and potential.