FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WINDERMERE, FL, June 4, 2018 – Windermere Preparatory School (WPS) is proud to announce its partnership with The Startup Studio, a Florida Limited Liability Company, to continue its ongoing goal of building a world class entrepreneurial studies program at its school.
The Entrepreneurial Studies Program was launched three years ago at WPS and students can enter the program in their Freshman year. The course is grounded in experiential learning where local entrepreneurs are utilized to teach students principals of business and entrepreneurship over three full years of curriculum.
The program, which currently has 60 students enrolled, was developed by Gary Conroy, Director of Entrepreneurial Studies at WPS, and also a serial entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of The Startup Studio. As part of developing the program, Conroy identified multiple partners including SunTrust Bank, Rollins Crummer Graduate School of Business as well as a wide variety of other businesses from the Central Florida market to partner with the program to ensure that students are offered seamless access into the world of business and entrepreneurship.
“Entrepreneurship is a life skill that takes many years to develop,” said Conroy. “We have to stop telling students sensational stories about methodologies that ensure a speedy path from Startup to IPO. That is not the reality. Entrepreneurship is first about knowing yourself and believing that you can sustain an independent economy. It is a learn by failure discipline, and it begins with story and understanding what it is you are passionate about. The foundation of Entrepreneurship Education, therefore, needs to be about long-term mentorship and experiential learning.”
In addition to signing with The Startup Studio, WPS is excited to add the next step in its advancement of the program by announcing Amanda Youngblood as an additional instructor to the program. Amanda has been an integral part of the WPS family for 4 years as an English Teacher and Certified Google Technology instructor. As Gary Conroy said, “Giving a teacher like Amanda, who is incredibly passionate about being a leader and disrupter in education, this kind of opportunity is very exciting. Passionate teachers want to get access to new and exciting platforms to offer relevant learning to their students and it will be significant to have Amanda in the classroom alongside me to learn and become a facilitator of entrepreneurial studies.”
“Creating relevance in education by connecting learning to the world beyond “school” is something I’ve been passionate about since I started teaching,” Youngblood said, continuing, “Through experiential learning, solving real problems in their community, and wrestling with issues, students are empowered to become confident and courageous innovators and thinkers who can go out and do big things. This opportunity is beyond exciting, and I am thrilled to be able to help build and expand this awesome program, both here at WPS and beyond.”
The program is also surrounded by an Advisory Council made up of a diverse group of entrepreneurs and professionals most of whom are parents of children who attend WPS. This panel was built by Conroy to ensure best practices and constant advisement is present as the program works to evolve and maintain top tier representation from a board that is highly invested in seeing this type of learning become a staple of the WPS curriculum. In addition, all our members are active participants in the classroom where they spend time bringing real world learning to our students, play mentor roles and many of them open their own companies to these students as part of our series bringing our students out of the classroom into companies to solve real world problems.
Jim Hunter, who is a member of the Advisory Council and serves as general counsel for a prominent hospitality company based in Orlando said, “I am excited to see how WPS’s Entrepreneurial Studies program has grown to what it is today. Students in WPS's program not only have benefited from Gary’s entrepreneurial vision but also have demonstrated a shared passion for the kind of learning and real-world experience WPS’s program provides. I have enjoyed seeing the students in action in the classroom and pitch room and have been impressed with their ability to ideate compelling business opportunities and develop the skills needed to bring their ideas to life.”
Dr. Steven Lyng, Assistant Headmaster for WPS said, “There is no greater skill a student of the 21st century needs more than the ability to understand proper methods by which to execute on their ideas, to identify problems worth solving, and the ability to capture their solutions through the creation of impactful value propositions.”