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Entrepreneurship in School Curriculum

by Ed Glassman

Ed Glassman is the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) program at SCH. In this post, Inspired School Marketers interview Ed for "The Sparkcast,” a podcast providing brilliant ideas and food for thought on the private school market.

We invite you to enjoy the full recording here. Highlights and excerpts follow.
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The Sparkcast:
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 65% of today’s grade school kids will end up in a job that hasn’t been invented yet. Ed Glassman is Executive Director of SCH's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) where they have developed a program that takes on this paradigm and “embodies a bold and innovative vision that challenges the constraints of traditional education, preparing students to change the world through an entrepreneurial mindset—a mindset of curiosity and courageous creativity.” The CEL at SCH strives to develop students who will shape this uncertain future.
 
In this episode of The Sparkcast, Ed talks about the program’s goals, its workings, and why it's unique among the many independent school K-12 programs that teach innovation and problem solving. Ed holds a master’s degree from The University of Pennsylvania in Education Entrepreneurship and believes that the entrepreneurial mindset—one of resilience, resourcefulness, and innovative problem solving—is a powerful framework for education.
 
Ed Glassman, Executive Director, CEL:
Our tagline is “Entrepreneurship is much more than business.” Independent schools traditionally determine success by whether you get into your favorite college. CEL turns that on its head. We’re refining what pathways to success are and what success actually is within a more traditional school environment.
 
We have a number of different pathways to success. If the student crashes and burns and the project doesn’t launch, that’s still seen as success because one of the tenants of entrepreneurship is that you learn from failure.
 
We’re distinctive from other schools. We’re much more than just a maker space. We have a designated curriculum with distinctive learning outcomes that every student takes at SCH. We begin early and equip students to become entrepreneurs.
 
We seek to build empathy. A successful entrepreneur is being able to think outside yourself. How can they be devoted not just to themselves but to the service of others?
 
What does it look like to measure the entrepreneurial mindset and how can we do that in a way that isn’t tied to traditional testing? I don’t want to see kids sitting in a testing hall taking an exam on creative problem solving. I want to be able to measure it through the work that they’re doing.
 
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Tune in to the podcast to learn more!
  • How the Sands Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy prepares students for the uncertainties they will encounter in their careers and their futures.
  • The importance of teaching students the skill set and mindset of entrepreneurial thinkers.
  • The definition of entrepreneurial when used in CEL.
  • How the CEL redefines what success is and what it isn’t.           
  • What’s great about Millennials that offsets the negative impression?
  • How a course in personal finance is integrated into the CEL program.
  • Why the CEL program at SCH is different from programs at other schools that teach entrepreneurial thinking, problem-solving, and innovation. 
Glassman was again approached for a discussion on entrepreneurship when the family office of Pitcairn asked him to join other thought leaders on the topic of “Nurturing the Entrepreneurial Mindset in Your Family.” An article in Pitcairn Update provides a summary of their roundtable conversation, including messages about finding your passion and encouraging others to find theirs, the myth of the “lone wolf genius“ and the value of praising hard work over success. Excerpts from the Pitcairn newsletter:
 
Find your passion and encourage others to find theirs.
Mr. Glassman spearheads an entrepreneurial program at a competitive prep school, and finds that his program appeals to kids who have passions that don’t fit into conventional categories of math, science, or humanities. “Even kids who aren’t getting great grades work tirelessly once they get into our venture incubator program and find their passion. It’s important for parents to help find these opportunities for their sons and daughters.”
 
Reject the myths of the “entrepreneurial gene” and the “lone wolf genius.”
Success stories of entrepreneurs like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs often take on a mythic quality, but Mr. Glassman believes entrepreneurship is a process like the scientific method. “It’s easy to fall into the fallacy that there’s this entrepreneurial gene. Or that one has to be charismatic to be an entrepreneur. These are just not true. Equally false is the myth of the solo entrepreneur. The reality is that it takes a team to do this work. We can teach the mechanics of entrepreneurship. We can train young people to be leaders, to trade ideas, and to collaborate effectively in teams. These are skills for success whether or not someone ever founds a company.”
 
Praise and reward hard work.
“Praise hard work rather than success,” recommends Ms. Bisnow, citing Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck whose research confirmed that when you praise children for effort, they take on more challenges. Unfortunately, the converse is also true. “When you praise only success, kids won’t take on challenges and that’s a bad way to be.” “The message I give our students each day is that lack of hard work is the only thing that can’t be excused,” says Mr. Glassman. “Anyone can have bad luck. The market might not respond to your idea, funding might dry up, but at the end of the day, you have to look in the mirror and know you gave it your all.”
 
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