CHAPMAN — A unique aspect of Chapman High Schools six student-run businesses is how the students work together, said Jamie Manhart with Greenbush Education Services.
Teachers and administrators from around Kansas participated in a Career and Technical Education forum sponsored by Greenbush at Chapman High School to learn about those six businesses run by students Friday.
“A lot of schools have student-run businesses, but how they work together and how they truly are student-led and not the teachers or advisers, (is unusual),” Manhart said. “The students are doing the work.”
For example, Irish Ink, a student-run graphic and printing business, and Irish Technical Support business both work with T-Works to design shirts, with Irish Fabrication for metal signs and Irish Photography for posters and prints.
“It’s so cool. I wanted other school districts to see the potential of having a T-shirt shop, having a photography business and see how you can work together,” she said of Greenbush arranging the hands-on workshop.
Greenbush Education Services organized a series of workshops for school districts to improve their CTE pathways, Manhart said.
“I work with districts to improve their pathways to give them ideas of what they can do for their students, and opportunities that they can give them,” she said.
The businesses are not just doing projects for the school but reaching out to do projects for the community, “whether it be weddings or churches and those type of things,” Manhart said.
She said Greenbush works with rural schools in communities where many of those services the student-run businesses provide are not available.
“We work with small schools that can’t get resources, and there are not a lot of competing businesses that are offering community services that they don’t have access to or they do at a high price,” she said. “It is also offering students opportunities.”
Manhart said the main focus of the Career and Technical Education program in the state of Kansas is to make students employable.
“It will not only give them skills that will benefit them in a job market but be competitive and also learn those soft skills — showing up on time, working as a team, taking criticism, problem solving — all those things.”
Chapman High School Principal Kevin Suther said the six businesses pay sales tax when applicable and do make a profit.
“We offer scholarships and it goes back into our product,” he said. “We do vinyl and now we do sparkle vinyl.”
Profits are also invested in equipment or software.
“We do make a profit, but the great thing about this is that we don’t have to take it away from the elementary teachers, that we don’t have to take it away from the middle school,” he said. “We are somewhat self-funding without taxing into the taxpayers’ money getting into the general fund.”
Art instructor Kayla Kinser said the profits from T-shirt sales helps fund the art supplies.
“All the paper, all the clay, anything you can think of costs,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to be productive so we can buy some nice quality paper that we can draw on that doesn’t rip when you are trying to shade. Or nicer quality colored pencils for the kids.”
“Art supplies obviously aren’t cheap,” Suther said.
A forum is held once a month by Greenbush to give CTE teachers and principals professional development.
“Instead of sitting in workshops or conferences, they are getting hands-on activities,” she said.
One of the unique items at Chapman is Chappy Snaps, a photo booth that Suther uses for school events.
“Every elementary has a carnival and they love to have that,” Suther said of the booth. “It’s not a huge business, but it’s a way of getting a niche and actually doing some photography.”
Those teachers and administrators then got a demonstration on how Chappy Snaps works, taking home a string of pictures.
Contact Tim Horan at firstname.lastname@example.org.