EntreEd - The National Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education

EntreEd hosted Annual Forum in Charleston, WV

Over 100 educators collaborated to grow nationwide entrepreneurship education

On November 3-5, 2017, educators from across the nation gathered in Charleston, WV for the annual EntreEd Forum. The EntreEd Forum is the premier professional development opportunity for entrepreneurship education. This year’s program engaged teachers from all subject and grade levels in a collaborative weekend of learning and leading the charge to bring entrepreneurship back to their local school system.

The Forum kicked off with a half-day Summit on Friday, November 3, inviting local stakeholders to join educators for an afternoon of entrepreneurship education at the regional, district, school, and classroom level. Earl Gohl, Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, welcomed participants and was followed by Jared Arnett, Executive Director of KY SOAR – who spoke to regional entrepreneurship. Cindy Quinlan, a marketing teacher from Gwinnet County, Georgia, shared her best practices for implementing entrepreneurship education in a classroom.

“It’s important that we teach kids to think strategically and critically,” said Mr. Gohl. “That is what entrepreneurship does.”

After a brief break, Dr. Amanda Jones of Mary B. Austin Elementary in Mobile, Alabama and Natalie Webb of North Elementary School in Morgantown, WV shared their principal perspective on implementing entrepreneurship across an entire school. The final panel of the day featured Chad Ratliff and Keaton Wadzinski of Albermarle County Schools in Virginia as they shared district-wide entrepreneurship initiatives.

The Forum kicked off on Friday evening with a dinner & a movie night, featuring “global cuisine” stations prepared by Carver Career Center ProStart students. Attendees dined on authentic dishes from Egyptian, French, Indian, and Greek culture while viewing the documentary film, She Started It, on women entrepreneurs in the tech industry. Immediately following the film, a panel of women entrepreneurs and the film’s director, Nora Poggi, reacted to the film. The panel included Natalie Roper, Executive Director of Generation WV, Lee Farabaugh, Co-Founder & COO of Core10, and Diana Walko, CEO of Motion Masters.

The documentaries key message of grit and perseverance prepared attendees for the weekend’s sessions. “If Plan A, Plan B, Plan C don’t work out,” said Thuy Truong, featured entrepreneur, “…there are 23 more characters in the alphabet.”

On Saturday, participants engaged in a conference-wide EntreCamp, a teacher-driven networking opportunity where attendees decide what they want to learn and what they want to share. Sessions included purposeful technology, best practices for entrepreneurship education, community engagement, and more. Following EntreCamp, Dr. Amanda Jones and Toi Hershman, EntreEd Regional Coordinator, kicked off a content development session by briefly describing seamless transitions in traditional classrooms to make them more entrepreneurial.

The afternoon featured work sessions for K-12 educators to develop a hands-on entrepreneurship lesson to be implemented in their classroom. Offered consecutively for community college and additional attendees was a session on Teacher Success Skills Based on Entrepreneurial Thinking & Action, facilitated by Dr. Rebecca Corbin, President & CEO of NACCE, and Joseph Kapp, Co-Founder of Behavioral Business. Saturday’s sessions ended with teachers preparing to “pitch” their project ideas in Sunday’s pitch contest.

Over twenty unique ideas were presented in Sunday’s event, ranging from individual lesson plans to district-wide entrepreneurship projects. Laura Goforth and Nikki Hall of Kimball Elementary in McDowell County, WV took home the big win with a school-wide “EntreFest” featuring student products developed by each grade level and sold at a community festival. One runner-up included “Yellow Jacket Greet Cards” a project pitched by Bell County Independent School System and featuring student photography as greeting cards to be sold during a community arts festival with over 10,000 annual attendees. The second runner up was “Soft Skillz” by Perry County Schools, featuring student-developed training materials on soft skills to teach younger students fundamental skills while also learning how to market and “sell” their video product.

Over 120 educators attended the three-day event. “It [the Forum] was the most relevant conference that I have attended in 7 years of educational training,” said one attendee. Stay tuned for updates on next year’s Forum and resources from this year’s content development sessions!

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