This last week our school held our first-ever open house, followed the next day by our expo. The open house was an opportunity for people in the neighborhood to come see what our students have been doing. Really it was a recruiting event; we are a school of choice, no one comes to our school because they have to, they come by choice. We need to recruit students so that we can pay the bills. By showing kids what our students actually do those that are interested in doing that will come.
The second event, the Merlo Expo, is an opportunity for our students to share their work with local business and industry leaders, and for those leaders to provide feedback to the students. The local Chamber of Commerce recruits volunteers to come hear the student presentations. This year we had about twenty-five volunteers come and work with our students and leave them with written feedback on their projects. It was amazing.
In looking through the feedback, a common theme emerged, this one from Facebook-
Wow. Just attended the Merlo Expo as students prepare for the SkillsUSA State Conference next weekend and wow! I saw some amazing projects and project management skills that would put these young leaders in jobs in a heart beat! -Jonathan Buyco
Project management was a common theme. The business people consistently said that the students demonstrated great project management skills, and how important that is. It was a little eye opening because I had never thought of that as a goal. We talk about time management, but that is a different thing. There were no comments about time management, which is a standard we specifically address. Folks were talking about project management.
These projects are all different. They are all student-designed projects that came from the question “What are you passionate about?” I couldn’t possibly manage all of these projects. One group published a book about Ballet Folklorico, and another built an underwater robot. One group published three children’s books, and another created a “Little Free Library” for the school.I could not manage these, there is not enough time in a day, nor do I know much about these topics. They needed to manage the projects. I need to remind them that is a job skill they have. In the future I need to be sure all of my students develop these skills and know it!