EnterprisePrep improves academic performance,
helps close the achievement gap.
Over two years, 404 School District of Philadelphia students invested in and ran student-owned enterprises, stayed in school, and outperformed their peers.
- Their attendance was 7.5% ABOVE AVERAGE.
Attendance was excellent. EnterprisePrep definitely improved attendance.
Passing rates in English and math were 6.6% and 4.5% ABOVE AVERAGE.
Students see the point to math now. They know how to apply it. It stuck with them much more because they were doing it for a reason.
They turned out to be much better writers. They understand you have to communicate effectively; you have to convey an idea. It really helped them do that.
NONE DROPPED OUT of schools with a 10.9% average annual dropout rate.
Students taste the real world. It isn't easy, but they are not defeated by it.
Students would say: I am in school today for our sale. It was a motivator.
Teachers saw significant improvement in students' behavior, decision making, problem solving, and communication skills.
Students: Two-thirds male; 14 to 19 years old; 99%, African-American or Hispanic and eligible for free lunch; 22% in special education; 57% at risk of dropping out; and 71% unlikely to pursue post-secondary education. Students were assigned to EnterprisePrep without regard to expressed interest in employment or entrepreneurship.
Schools: The curriculum was tested in academic, vocational, special education, and alternative classes in seven neighborhood high schools with enrollments from 1,000
to 2,400. The schools had below-average State and District standardized test scores, attendance, and passing rates. Six were persistently dangerous.
Evaluation: A District analyst evaluated District student performance data. (The District does not disclose individual standardized test scores.) Teachers were interviewed and completed a questionnaire developed by curriculum designers and approved by an independent evaluator. An article describing evaluation results from the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education newsletter is available on request.
Corporate Stories: Fruit and Cookies
Student Owners make bottom-line decisions.
With left-over fruit, we were not making any money. These were decisions they had to make as a corporation: Do we charge the same price as we charged yesterday? Do we reduce it? How much? They were on top of it; it was amazing.
When they realized they really should reduce the price, they thought: We have to increase sales the first day, so we do not have to reduce our price. So we do not have any left over the next day. And we decided on two different sizes, also. We were selling a $2 salad and doing well, but they decided to go with a $1 salad. They did very well. A lot of kids just had a dollar.
They decided to form teams and instead of actually having a kiosk, to go through the school and sell their products. They were funny; they became a little assertive about who went where because they started establishing customers.
They solve consequential problems.
Our corporation earned $24.00 on a $2.00 investment. We sold fresh-baked cookies. That is what our principal would let us do. In 20 minutes, the kids could sell 600 bags of three cookies apiece. They set up an assembly line.
Our customers started throwing their cookie bags on the floor. The principal came to me and said: You are messing up my school. I need to shut you down. I said: You can not shut us down. My kids are sucking the knowledge out of me. I can not teach them fast enough. Give us an opportunity to solve the problem.
I called a conference and presented the problem. They figured it out. They bought three trash cans, one for each floor of our school. They put our logo on each can and sent out a flyer: Write your name on your bag and put it in our trash can. We will have a drawing at the end of the day, three bags from each can. Nine students will receive a free bag of cookies. No more trash problem.
Another problem cropped up. Students threw trash other than cookie bags into our trash can. Another conference, another flyer: When we find garbage in our trash can, we will not be able to hold a drawing. No more trash problem.