SMSD News: SM West students open real world learning storefront at Oak Park Mall

Students from SM West have opened a new storefront at Oak Park Mall.

Students from Shawnee Mission West High School are in business. They have opened a new storefront at Oak Park Mall.

 Through a unique and innovative partnership with the shopping center, student-owned businesses are on display for shoppers. Every dollar given by the community takes a student entrepreneur one step further on the path to reaching their business goals. 

Click here to see a video.

 “Supporting student entrepreneurs and education is important and we are committed to this partnership,” shared Karla Engel, senior general manager for Oak Park Mall. Recently, Engel provided SM West’s student entrepreneurs with information on merchandising, marketing, and building their startup ideas. The students are enrolled in Shawnee Mission West business teacher Tiffany Dixon’s class. This semester they took time to design and create online businesses that include clothing, accessories, and home décor. Others are working on raising money through crowdfunding platforms to cover expenses for starting their business.

Open Now for Shoppers

At Oak Park Mall, shoppers are able to scan a QR code displayed on the storefront to browse and make purchases.

Interested shoppers can also click here to support student businesses. 

“The support of Oak Park Mall further elevates student access to real world learning experiences,” Dixon noted. “Just imagine the impact on our local economy if more traditional classwork helped young people start real businesses during the school day. These entrepreneurial experiences will help our students make even better college and career decisions after high school.”

Dixon and the students stated they hope many community members and SMSD alumni consider the store in their holiday shopping.  

 “I’m a bit nervous, but overall excited!” Kim Capule, SM West sophomore shared.

The partnership with Oak Park Mall will continue throughout the spring semester.

 Real World Learning in the SMSD

This opportunity connects directly to a focus on Real World Learning (RWL) for students across the Shawnee Mission School District. SMSD, along with nearly 50 school districts in our region, has partnered with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to better prepare students for learning and work. 

Market Value Assets (MVAs) are at the core of RWL in the SMSD. These are specific work opportunities and accreditations that contribute to student success in work and learning beyond graduation. MVAs include:

  • Work experiences (internships and client-connected projects)
  • Industry-related Credentials (IRCs)
  • Dual-College Credit
  • Entrepreneurial Experiences

Opportunities for Businesses to Connect

Business Partners are critical to the success of Real World Learning. There are numerous ways to connect with Shawnee Mission students to prepare them for college and career. Click here for more information about RWL opportunities and for contact information.