Shawnee Mission East Sophomores Begin Client Connected Project

Shawnee Mission East Sophomores Begin Client Connected Project
Shawnee Mission School District

In an effort to encourage growth and participation in the Real World Learning program, 120 sophomores at Shawnee Mission East listened to pitches from “clients” in the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) community. 

The clients ranged from district administrators to Shawnee Mission East staff and even the President of the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) all looking for assistance with a current challenge in their department or program. 

 “Our clients have pitched problems to them and our students are hopefully going to grasp onto one of those pitches and then they’ll end up creating a solution,” said Brandi Krahulik, one of the East English Language Arts (ELA) teachers organizing the project. “Hopefully, [a solution] that can happen, that they can see fruits of their labor come to life.” 

The purpose of this project stems from the district-wide goal that by 2030 every SMSD student will have earned a Market Value Asset (MVA) before graduation.

This project is considered a “Client Connected Project” which would qualify all of the participants to earn an MVA. 

“ELA is one of those subjects every student says, ‘Why do I need English? I know how to read and write. I don’t need this.’ And with this project, I’m hoping they’ll see the purpose for learning how to comprehend what they’re reading. There is a purpose for ELA even in high school; even if you know how to read and write. So, that’s the biggest pull from it, but also, these are life skills that they can carry on for the rest of their lives,” said Krahulik. 

Some of the pitches included:

-       Finding ways to encourage students to cleanup litter around the school

-       How to increase participation in the PTSA and the guest speaker series

-       Increasing awareness about district opportunities like scholarships and internships

After listening to the pitches, students will work in groups to determine which problem they’d like to help solve. They will work directly with the client to research and strategize before presenting a final solution at the conclusion of the project. 

“I think we could really try and help solve some of them,” said Mae Audus, a sophomore at East. “I think by doing this project we’re helping more people and instead of just trying to figure it out themselves, [the clients] have more people, more opinions, coming in to figure it out.”

While this assignment is in the early stages of development, it’s building the framework for future classes to easily incorporate Client Connected Projects into core curriculum. 

“I think that if we can get more people involved in doing this for our kids, the more clients we have, it’s more opportunity for our kids to be connected to the community, to community leaders, to our school, and to our school leaders,” said Krahulik.