In January, The Children’s School’s first eighth-grade class will embark on a first-of-its-kind, social entrepreneurship capstone experience!
On Oct. 25, Middle Grades teacher Regan Durkin held a parent social entrepreneurship meeting with TCS parents who are interested in and/or have expertise in the area. The group came together to learn more about the program, align goals, and discover ways they can be directly involved.
Below, Regan reflects on the first meeting and discusses how our parent community is contributing to the design of the program.
Q: What are your reflections on the parent feedback given at the initial meeting?
A: First and foremost, the first parent-entrepreneur meeting solidified my belief that The Children’s School is the prime environment to build a social entrepreneurship program. Being new to the TCS community this year, I have worked hand-in-hand with staff, faculty, and students who are committed to developing the social entrepreneurial mindset. Working with a select group of parents who also embrace this mindset in their daily personal and professional lives seals the deal.
The first question posed at the meeting was: “Envision your child or children at TCS. Considering both your experience as an entrepreneur and where your child is developmentally, what would you consider a vision of success as your child graduates as a social entrepreneur?”
Adaptability. Collaboration. Empathy. Action. There was a unanimous agreement that these parents desire their children to be social-change agents in every situation; as a student, son, daughter, activist, entrepreneur, and beyond. The idea that we are a community that is committed to creating a program that allows students to take ownership of their lives and communities is the beginning of something powerful.
What struck me the most in the meeting was that this group of entrepreneurs didn’t just talk the talk, but were willing to walk the walk. After the meeting, most parents set up one-on-one meetings with me because they want to leverage their expertise, resources, and connections to enhance the social entrepreneurship experience we are curating for students.
Q: How are students beginning to develop entrepreneurial skills/mindset to prepare for next semester?
A: This semester, Middle-Grade students are developing a social entrepreneurial mindset and skillset through the application of what they’re learning. Through field trips, students are gaining a growing awareness for the problems and opportunities in their community. Through writing, students are exploring the journey and mindset of entrepreneurs and being challenged to not only write persuasively but translate this art of “selling” through elevator pitches. Through social studies, students are learning to take action on injustices they see in the world by creating activism art and writing letters to Congress. Through project-based learning, students are engaging in the design-thinking process, conducting empathy interviews, identifying problems, and testing solutions.
Q: When will the group come back together, and what are the goals of that meeting?
A: The parent-entrepreneur group reconvened on Dec. 5 to focus on the eighth-grade capstone launch, identify areas to improve, and refine plans to ensure we have a social entrepreneurship capstone experience that will not only transform the inaugural eighth-grade class but will establish a strong foundation for the program to build upon for years to come. The group discussed field trips to Switchyards and Emory Startup, assigned readings from Venture Girls, curriculum resources, and more.