How to Implement
Entrepreneurship Education, K-12, Every Student Every Year
Most communities support a variety of activities designed to assist potential adult entrepreneurs.
Community colleges and 4-year institutions are adding more courses, minors and majors in entrepreneurship all the time, frequently with additional student support mechanisms. Many communities have business incubators/accelerators to provide support for new entrepreneurs. State
SBDCs are designed for this purpose and have broad outreach. Loan funds provided by the federal or state governments or investment funds like venture funds and angel investors are available in many communities. The key to creating a more entrepreneurial culture that will make best use of these post-secondary and adult tools and opportunities is to make sure that all students are aware that entrepreneurial career pathways are available to them at any point in their lives. Students in the early grades are the most creative and innovative thinkers in the K-12 system. Middle school students are just beginning to plot a career path. High school students are capable of taking the first entrepreneurial steps. It is at the k-12 level that entrepreneurship education should be delivered for every student. And yet, this broad focus, leaves the instruction in the hands of teachers with expertise in other areas. This is not a problem.
There is no step-by-step process, no list of easy-to-follow guidelines. Each faculty should examine their own knowledge, interests and available resources and make a plan that works for that individual school. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Creative faculties can start with the Every Student concept and work it out in their own way. However, there are two approaches a school can use to examine the Every Student concept. It can be accomplished through internal efforts or external assistance. In many cases, a combination of the two may be the best way to go. Let’s look at each approach.
The internal approach – Every teacher has standards that guide instruction. Many of the lessons derived from those standards benefit from connections to the real world. Entrepreneurship is a wide – themselves to a connection with entrepreneurship. If all teachers examined the standards that guide their instruction, each of them can find lessons that can use entrepreneurship as the real world connection. In elementary and middle school grades, any study of careers should connect entrepreneurship to any passion or interest a student might express as a potential career pathway. In STEM programs, the discussion of innovation should also include the logical extension of scientific innovation – entrepreneurship. In the Arts, the idea of making a living in the Arts is certainly connected to the entrepreneurial aspects of selling artistic talents to make a living. If every teacher connects entrepreneurship to the required standards just a few times per year, every student will learn about the opportunities of entrepreneurship.
The external approach – Most communities have outside entrepreneurship education organizations who will come into the schools and work with teachers and students. Here is a partial list:
– Lemonade Day
– Generation E
– E Discovery
– Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)
– Junior Achievement
– Go Venture
– Micro Society
– Biz in a Boxx http://www.bizinaboxx.com/
– SciPreneur http://www.bizinaboxx.com/
– There may be many more providers, especially in the local area.
As the faculty sits down to consider how every student is going to receive entrepreneurship education, they may consider partnering with these groups or others to bring the expertise into their building. These outside programs are available at every grade level but perhaps not in every community. A little research will be necessary to determine what is available. In career centers, don’t forget the opportunities available through the Career and Technical Student Organizations. Most of them have entrepreneurship-related competitive events that encourage students to dig deeper into their start-up ideas. In some school districts high school students studying entrepreneurship might be willing to conduct introductory activates with elementary or middle grade students. Entrepreneurship students at nearby post-secondary institutions might also be involved. Planning for an internal approach requires more work on the part of each individual teacher, while using external programs requires more school-wide coordination to be sure every student is part of the effort.
In some instances, a combination of the two approaches is best. One way to structure a combined effort is to celebrate an Entrepreneurship Week at the school, during which external providers would come in or conduct their capstone activity and teachers would try to integrate entrepreneurship into their daily lessons that week. An assembly and speaker or field trips could be added. This is also a great way to get the community and local media involved.
Each school has different level of expertise, different budget and different resources. The Every Student strategy should be implemented based on the strengths and resources of each school. Finally, an end-of-the-year reflection on the effectiveness of the program will allow for adjustments and an early start for the next year. Good Luck!
For more information, contact Gene Coulson firstname.lastname@example.org.