The (iSH) Co. exemplifies the meaning of putting control “in students’ hands,” which is what the company name stands for and what EdCorps Founder of the Month Megan Smith strives to achieve. The students do this by connecting their technology and making activities to business building and giving. What is even more impressive is that students decide to invest all of their earnings back into their own community. For three years, (iSH) Co. donations, totaling $6,165, have been given in support of eleven organizations and causes within their school and community.

Students give back
Students give a check to Meals on Wheels.

As the technology education teacher at Elizabeth Forward High School, Megan began (iSH) Co. as an after-school incubator project which allows students to build and operate a business producing vinyl printed banners, stickers, and custom products. Although they found immediate success within the district and for clients in the Pittsburgh community, the demand soon warranted more attention than the club could handle. They took the next step and created a combined Technical Education and Business Education class for Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors, allowing for learning in a more student-centered and relevant way. Instead of the traditional method of lecture and passive learning about running a business, the (iSH) Co. students are immersed in a real-world situation.

Students at a selling event.
(iSH) Co. students at a selling event.

Abby Bickerton, one of the Vice Presidents, claims her favorite part of the class is learning new techniques and skills and teaching other students as well. “It is different because we aren’t just sitting and looking at a book or board, we actually get to create and be in control. It’s active learning, not just receiving information.”

“The students and I  experience a lot of residual learning. For example, we learn the importance of marketing, social media, communication, and reflection – all items not planned to be part of our core curriculum but are essential to business operations.” ~Megan Smith

Megan adds that there are other important experiences the students gain behind the scenes of running a business, things like social and emotional learning through teamwork, creative confidence through operations, and becoming global citizens through giving while realizing the impact they can have on their community.

“I cannot wait to see what the future holds for the company and how the students will push to grow even more next year.” ~Megan Smith

To learn more about (iSH) Co., follow them on Twitter at @iSHCo_EFHS

And online at www.theishcompany.com.