Applied Learning: What’s in Store for WHS Students

Westwood High School Swoop and Scoop clerk Antonio Maxwell, center, shows spirit merchandise to student-customers Jarmel Reese, left and Ashley Rudd.

Applying what is learned in the classroom to the business world is often the goal for those leaving high school. Once students leave school, they have an education but can lack work experience. But experience is just what the students in Jeremi Madden’s Business Education classes are gaining behind the counter at the Westwood High School Swoop and Scoop school store. The store, which is attached to Madden’s classroom, was created by the students in his Marketing class and is now being run by current students in the school.

The store was the brainchild of Principal Ralph Schmidt who wanted to provide an opportunity for students to gain real world experience within the walls of Westwood. Although it was Schmidt’s idea, it was the students of Madden’s class who developed a business plan, designed the store and pitched the plans to Schmidt and other members of his staff for the current store.

“I was so proud of the students and their presentation,” Schmidt said. “They were able to answer all our questions.”

Schmidt said that Madden did an excellent job of preparing the class for their presentation. The students are taking what they learned in the classroom and applying it to the store, gaining hands on experience as well.

Westwood Swoop and Scoop school store is thriving, offering school supplies, healthy snacks and Westwood spirit items. It is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday before and after school and during lunch. The excitement and pride that the students are taking in the store is just what Madden and Schmidt were hoping to see, and each shift is staffed by students, eager, apparently, to go to work.

“I send out a schedule on Google spreadsheet,” Madden said, “and within an hour all shifts are filled.”

The process for employment at the store is the same as for a regular job. Students must submit an application with references and go through an interview process. The skills that the students are gaining, such as time management, marketing, retail sales and more, will allow them to be ready to go on to other jobs after high school. And, Madden said, students know that if they do a good job in the store, he will be more than willing to give them a letter of reference for other jobs outside of school.

Schmidt is looking forward to the year-end review with the students. He is ready to get feedback from them on what worked, what did not work, their marketing plan and ideas for the next year. There are plans to develop a Web presence in which parents, family or friends can purchase items online and the student workers will pull the inventory, package the items and deliver to students in the school. The store has also helped multiple groups on campus with fundraisers – something it hopes to continue to do.