With a business background and a history of teaching college students, Lindsey Montague, the US Design Technology and Business Management Teacher, is excited about the future of entrepreneurship at the K-12 level. “Our challenge is that there is not a big history of teach - ing entrepreneurship to pull from,” says Montague. This challenge isn’t stopping Montague and Department Chair, Bradley Hayes, from building a cutting-edge program that starts in the lower school. Students in the lower school through the upper school are being exposed to all elements of business. From developing a plan to product inception, 5th graders present their businesses at Young Entrepreneurs Day. Sixth graders are thinking outside the box for their personal projects and utilizing mission and vision statements, SWOT analysis, and planning tools early on. By the time CDS students reach the upper school, efficiency ratio and cash flow strategies are part of their vernacular.
Montague and Hayes are excitedly molding the CDS entrepreneurship program to meet the needs of the new breed of students wanting to not only create their own majors in college, but their own careers upon graduation. “The more we can educate these students at a young - er age to think like an entrepreneur, the more successful they are going to be in college and more importantly, life,” says Hayes.
But what does an entrepreneurship program look like? For the lower and middle schools, it is continuing to incorporate elements of business management into the course load, as well as offering challenging extracurricular opportunities like computer science, robotics, and even speech competitions. Additionally it is paramount that these students are learning presentation skills, as well as the ability to communicate not only in person but via email. Through their design tech classes, our middle school students are exposed to entrepreneurship, along with computer science and engineering. This allows them to figure out what they’d like to specialize in once they reach the upper school.
Once our students enter the upper school, they are given the opportunity to take their first Entrepreneurship and Business Management courses. The culmination of the MYP has each 10th grader working on a project that has the goal of “designing a solution.” This is a hands-on opportunity that allows them to work through the design cycle, as well as create a presentation to show their progress. If a student chooses the Business Management track for their Diploma Programme in 11th and 12th grades they will be immersed in the business organization and environment, finance and accounting, marketing, and operations. The goal is that when they complete the DP process they are not only thinking like Entrepreneurs, they are Entrepreneurs.
In this day and age, the focus on entrepreneurial education is no longer a novelty but a necessity and CDS plans to meet the needs of our students head on with a world-class program that allows them to enter the next phase of their lives as experts. Additionally, teaching our students entrepreneurial thinking provides an advantage to those who pursue traditional career paths. With so many possibilities and opportunities at their finger tips, we are so excited to see what they will do next.