The Real World Learning virtual storefront at Oak Park mall opened by Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) students is open for browsing and shopping. On Thursday, January 27, the Overland Park Chamber, Shawnee Mission Education Foundation, and Oak Park Mall hosted a ribbon cutting to celebrate the innovative space that features student owned businesses. Click here to see a video.
Digital marketing and entrepreneurship students at Shawnee Mission West have been developing real products and brands. Through a partnership with Oak Park Mall, a sample of the wares are on display in the Real World Learning virtual storefront. Shoppers can purchase the student made products through a QR code that redirects to an online store.
This opportunity connects directly to a focus on Real World Learning for students across the SMSD. Speaking at the ribbon cutting, Superintendent Dr. Michelle Hubbard reflected on the strategic planning process four years ago and the direction given by the community to “reimagine learning.”
“I can’t think of a better example than the Real World Learning we see here,” shared Hubbard. “I’m exceptionally proud of our students and educators who have taken this opportunity and run with it.”
Shawnee Mission West Teacher, Tiffany Dixon, explained that the support of the community has been fundamental. As the students have learned how to create real businesses, the community has supported their entrepreneurial vision by providing innovative opportunities.
“They are trusting us to show them what to do, to make this a real business,” said Dixon. “We are all being entrepreneurial with them in education, and in real-time. That’s so exciting.”
Becoming a business owner in high school is a unique opportunity, expressed Jayla Powell, SM West graduate. “There’s not a lot of schools out there that will push you out there and get you to start something,” Powell shared. “Now I have a small business.”
SM West senior Aiden Hall thinks Shawnee Mission’s focus on Real World Learning can help better prepare students for the future.
“I think Real World Learning is a great approach for letting students find their passion. Maybe they don’t know what they want to do yet, but with Real World Learning they can test a few niches and see what they like the most,” commented Hall.
The Real World Learning virtual storefront is located on the lower level of Oak Park Mall near JC Penney. To check out and support the student businesses, visit https://www.smwvikingdesigns.com/.