EntreEd Executive Director, Gene Coulson with “What’s Your Big Idea?” Pitch Contest winners, Nikki Hall, Bryant Combs, and Jarred Gibson
On September 27-29, educators from across the nation gathered in Lexington, Kentucky for the annual EntreEd Forum presented by The Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education. This year’s programming included a wide range of valuable professional development activities for entrepreneurship education and classroom innovation. Teachers of all subject and grade levels were in attendance and participated in an engaging weekend of learning and leading the charge to bring entrepreneurship back to their local school system.
The Forum kicked off on Friday, September 27 with an inspiring keynote from Dr. Pam Moran & Ira Socol of Timeless Learning. They discussed ways to shift cultures to infuse entrepreneurship and ignite students’ passion for learning. “How do we create a roadmap to a culture in which students will thrive, not just survive?”- Dr. Pam Moran. After the conclusion of their keynote, participants attended the first break out sessions with Dr. Amanda Jones of the Mobile County Public School System and Brian Weisfeld of The Startup Squad. They explained how to infuse entrepreneurship in schools with best practices and The Startup Squad’s new entrepreneurial children’s book.
Later in the afternoon, Serial Entrepreneur, Scott Tindle of Experiential Design Group, discussed GRIT and building a success formula for your school as the afternoon keynote. Tindle’s own success formula, “GRIT+kindness+optimism= Success” helped frame his growth and development as an entrepreneur. Forum content wrapped up with two more breakout sessions presented by Bob Fredette of Lamoille Union High School and Cindy Quinlan of Brookwood High School. Both provided examples of how to help students create sustainable businesses. “If you cannot make money without money, you cannot make money with money.” – Cindy Quinlan. The evening ended with a sponsor reception and an engaging dinner keynote by Russ Seagle of REAL Entrepreneurship, who shared the five types of entrepreneurs and the myths that surround them. “This is not a thing you do. This is a thread that runs through everything you do.”- Russ Seagle
Saturday’s program began with a keynote about technology trends in education from Laura B. Janusek of Modern Teacher. “Meaningful learning is greater than the measurement of learning. ”- Laura B. Janusek. Educators then had the opportunity to attend a variety of beneficial breakout sessions of their choice. Gary Schoeniger of the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative discussed developing an entrepreneurial mindset in students. Neil Arnett of Pikeville Schools (2nd place winner of the 2018 EntreEd Educator Pitch Contest) shared the success of using the funds for STEM activities and a makerspace, The Collaboratory, at his school. Dr. Shannon Whalen, Carol O’Connell, and Melissa Eckstein of Gateway Regional High School shared how they created an entrepreneurial culture at their New Jersey school through their America’s Entrepreneurial Schools designation. Olen York of Marshall University illustrated the importance of enabling and encouraging grit, perseverance, and resiliency in students.
Following morning breakout sessions, The Kentucky Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NEW) participated in an inspiring lunch panel where they each shared their experiences and journeys through entrepreneurship. Panelists included Kyle Citrynell, Tia Coatley, Marisa Midkiff Neal, and moderator, Verna Goatley. “Take the time to see what’s extra in your students,” said panelist Tia Coatley as she explained the importance of instilling entrepreneurial skills and wisdom on educators engaging their students. To wrap up Saturday’s programming, Professors Andy Gold and Mary Beth Kerly of Hillsborough Community College hosted an interactive design thinking workshop for all Forum participants, complete with prototype building and jingle writing. The foundation of this workshop spurred ideas for submissions to the Educator Pitch Contest, taking place Sunday.
On Sunday, EntreEd’s Program Manager, Amber Ravenscroft and Regional Coordinator, Toi Hershman took the stage to discuss how to fund your entrepreneurship initiative. This topic kicked off EntreEd’s Educator Pitch Contest, an annual event designed to provide start-up funds for entrepreneurial projects. This year’s panel of judges included entrepreneurial educators, Sarah Trent and Cindy Quinlan and EntreEd Board President, Chad Rieflin . There were many big ideas presented, and judges had a difficult time selecting the winners. Our first place winner was Nikki Hall of Kimball Elementary (McDowell County, WV) for “Oasis in the Desert” – a school agricultural greenhouse project to allow students to grow and have access to more healthy foods closer to home while implementing project-based learning. The second place winner was Bryant Combs of Robinson Elementary (Perry County, KY) for “Gaming to Grow and Engage” – a way to engage young students via hands-on learning using Minecraft to foster problem solving and creativity. Third place was taken by Jarred Gibson of Johnson Central High School (Johnson County, KY) for “The Eagles Nest” – a project to bring funds for equipment to allow students running his school store to create and design customized products, rather than outsource purchases. We look forward to seeing the impact of these projects in the winners’ schools and communities.
Keep an eye out for the release of next year’s forum dates and location!