How You Start Can Make A BIG Difference

How you start plays a big difference in how you finish.

I had the pleasure today of seeing that in action at a school in Davis School District in Kaysville, UT. I was visiting with Mountain High School (MHS) Principal Kathleen Chronister and she and Tomee Pace, one of the MHS teachers, very excitedly shared with me during our conversation how her students will spend the first 8 days of the new school year.

MHS serves non-traditional students and utilizes creative approaches to help unique students succeed and graduate.

They are holding SHARK TANK WEEK. Both new and returning students will be placed on teams that are comprised of MHS teachers and local entrepreneur mentors. The students will develop a product and an associated business plan, create marketing to sell the product, forecast financial outlay and income, and then present the project on the last day to a panel of “sharks” made of local business people.

During the very well thought out project, the students receive instruction and guidance on economics, finances, forecasting, pricing, insurance, public speaking, marketing and entrepreneurialism. While working with their peers, they will also have opportunities for problem solving, conflict management, team work, competition, assessment and interpersonal social skills.

To help make it more real, MHS is partnering with Konel Banner, who actually had a project funded on the real Shark Tank show by Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner. It is called InstaFire. They even have real Shark Tank participants who were not funded participating. After all, real life has success and failures and we can learn a lot from both.

I love this project for many reasons. First, it is creative and fun. Both the students and staff will have fun…and learn! I also like the interdisciplinary nature of what will be required for each team to pull off an effective “sell” to the sharks. Another terrific component to the project is that the students are getting to know one another and their teachers at the beginning of the year outside of the normal classroom setting. These bonds can lay the foundation for the remainder of the year. Perhaps what I like best about the project is that it sends a powerful message to students about how learning has a real purpose, one that is applied to things that they will actually have to do.

I know this beginning of the school year will have an energizing impact for the MHS students. I also know that Kathleen, Tomee, and the entire staff, will build upon the success of this beginning to create an amazing learning experience throughout the entire year for their students.

I am going to check back in with Kathleen and Tomee after the activity is over and I cannot wait to hear about the projects created by the students. Hopefully, I can update this post with a few pictures and stories. Stay tuned!

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