School change: YEK …. AWESOME!

by Steve Wyckoff on November 1, 2010

One of the projects that I’m actively involved in is the movement to incorporate entrepreneurship into schools, especially small, rural, declining enrollment schools. The group that I’m working with is very specific in their desire. They don’t want kids to learn about entrepreneurship, they want the students to practice the discipline of entrepreneurs.

I believe that you only learn when you’re doing. And in this case the doing that we want kids to do, is being entrepreneurs … Starting and running businesses.

This week I had the opportunity and the pleasure to visit with Kylie Stupka who is theExecutive Director of Youth Entrepreneurs Kansas, and Phoebe Bachura who is the Development Director. I was aware of Youth Entrepreneurs Kansas. I had looked over their website and read some of their literature. Both of which were very impressive.

But visiting with these two young ladies in person was beyond impressive. Their organization is doing exemplary work with students mostly in south central Kansas. My hope is that we can collaborate with Youth Entrepreneurs Kansas and find a way to scale their program across the state, but especially to rural schools.

One of the major issues we have in rural America is the shortage of jobs and businesses. If we can find those students across rural America who have a passion that can be applied in a local business, we can grow our own jobs. We’re never going to get businesses to move to rural Kansas in sufficient numbers to solve the problem. It’s imperative for the survival of rural America that we begin to grow our own jobs.

At the same time we can use entrepreneurship to authentically engage our students in their learning experiences. Students should be able to apply and master academic skills in the context of whatever it is they’re passionate about, and the businesses they start around those passions.

After all, if our academic standards can’t be applied in real world settings, why do we have them? This is school change that can not only benefit the students but our rural communities. Please take a minute and watch the video below, I think you’ll be fascinated and impressed. – Steve Wyckoff

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