OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

High School students helping local businesses recover!

High school students will learn problem solving skills while providing invaluable "boots on the ground(or Zoom)" data gathering for business

Photo of Sarah Swain
6 5

Written by

I am a.....

  • Teacher

Tell us about your idea

In schools around the country, entrepreneurship classes, programs and clubs have begun to appear. In the best of times, these programs helped students learn invaluable skills from real businesses. Now those local businesses are struggling to stay a float! They are pivoting rapidly, trying to keep up with changing regulations and customer behavior. These businesses do not have time or money to hire expensive marketing or customer development firms to solve new problems and change advertising approaches every week. Using their own community and social networking connections, high school students can learn the skills of customer development and data-based problem solving in order to help their local businesses! Let's bring together entrepreneurship programs across the country to strategize about the best methods to partner students and businesses. 

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

I hope that we leave the need to have synchronous 45-90 minute long classes in compartmentalized subjects in the past. I hope that we can move into problem-solving, trans-disciplinary classes that help students learn the skills of the future while applying important content knowledge to projects that matter to them, whether that be online or in-person, in cohorts or teams. If students need help with specific content or skills like learning statistics, language mechanics, genetic engineering principles, or computer programming in order solve a problem there could be workshops available for remediation and deeper development. With content available in myriad places on the internet, do students still need to sit at a desk (whether at school or at home) for a dictated amount of time in order to be told about specific topics? Let's leave THAT model in the past!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

Revolutionizing Education for the Innovation Age: Ardently pursuing what works best for student learning in the classroom and beyond, I am passionate about helping students on their path to self-discovery. In my dozen years of teaching, I have transformed traditional classrooms whether challenging students in AP Environmental Science with green-energy engineering problems, or creating partnerships with local businesses to help students build entrepreneurial skills, I develop experiences that engage students with solving real problems. I am a community builder, experimenter, and problem solver, passionate about innovating in education for the benefit of all students and motivated to use my skills and talents to inspire a wider audience.

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

I live and teach in a small, tech oriented city in the Southeast U.S.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Tracee Worley

Great idea! I'd love to know more about how you envision connecting businesses to students. You can use the edit link to update your submission, if you'd like. 

Photo of Sarah Swain

Tracee Worley I teach entrepreneurship at the high school level so we partner with local businesses regularly. The local Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center sponsored by CSBDF and Shaw University as well as another local Entrepreneurship teaching organization called District C are two organizations I work with to find business connections. I envision other Entrepreneurship programs joining together to commit to this work and helping other teachers start programs and find local connections in their regions. It can be as simple as talking to your favorite restaurant or store that is struggling and having students in a related class work on a project for three weeks of school.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Hi both!
Sarah - What a great idea for learning and community building at this time!
I wonder if the school PTA might be a resource when thinking about how to connect with local businesses?
Might the idea work across high school classes, disciplines, or even as a club? In this special circumstance of the pandemic might there be students who don't necessarily choose an entrepreneurship class but are interested in community service and would come to this from that motivation?

Photo of Sarah Swain

Yes! PTAs and alumni are great resources for finding businesses but it's also important to have businesses outside of any connection to the school community so students have an even broader experience and invest in their city community.

View all comments