Real World Learning

The Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) is providing Real World Learning opportunities for students as outlined in the district’s Strategic Plan. Real World Learning opportunities prepare students for college and careers. 

SMSD along with nearly 50 school districts in our region have partnered with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to better prepare students for learning and work. Real World Learning thrives when the community and schools collaborate to provide immersive experiences for students while building a pipeline for future talent.

The Real World Learning goal is by 2030 every student will graduate with a diploma and
one Market Value Asset.

Market Value Assets - MVAs
At the core of Real World Learning are Market Value Assets (MVAs). MVAs are identified as specific work opportunities or accreditations that contribute to student success in work and learning beyond graduation. They are defined in four categories:

1. Work Experiences
Internships: Students complete meaningful workplace tasks that develop readiness for work, knowledge, and skills that support entry or advancement in a specific career field. The tasks can be assessed as meaningful if they are resume-worthy. Qualifying internships are 120 hours. 
Client-Connected Projects: Individuals or teams of students analyze and solve authentic problems in collaboration with professionals from industry, not-for-profit, civic, or community-based organizations. Projects are 24 hours of work that include feedback from a work mentor or coach.

2. Industry-Recognized Credentials (IRCs)

3. Dual-College Credit
Students will earn nine or more hours of college credit. SMSD offers Advanced Placement (AP) courses, College Now options, and Project Lead the Way curriculum. Signature Programs and the International Baccalaureate Program include college credit. 

Students may also pursue college credit outside of the school schedule. 

4. Entrepreneurial Experiences
Students identify a compelling social or market problem and mobilize resources to research and solve it. Leveraging input and support from multiple stakeholders, students analyze, prototype, implement, reflect, and adapt potential solutions. 

An example of this process may be found at SM West where mentored teams participate in pitch competitions in the business pathway. 

Business Partners
A critical component of Real World Learning are partnerships with local businesses and industries. Entry-level opportunities for employers include being a mentor or coach to an individual student or a guest speaker to a class of students. There are a wide variety of courses under each pathway where business or industry representatives may connect with students to share business or industry knowledge and opportunities. To explore options for business partners, please contact Laura Harsch, Business to Education Program Officer. Pathways include: