In November, ROI Ready Schools Cohort 4 members traveled to Cardinal Manufacturing to learn about this successful student-run business in rural Strum, Wisconsin. Ready Schools is ROI’s flagship educational design-thinking framework that supports PK-12 school districts in aligning their curricular and programmatic offerings to the academic and workforce needs of the Indiana Uplands. Eighteen regional school districts have already participated in Ready Schools since 2017, impacting 35,000 K-12 students in 85 Uplands schools.
During the visit, Ready Schools Cohort 4 educators had the opportunity to learn from Eleva-Strum High School teachers, students, and employer partners about how they began and sustain the business. Cardinal Manufacturing instructor Craig Cegielski explained how he weaves the Nexen Ten into all parts of the business operations. The Nexen Ten is a collection of ten essential skills for career and overall life success.
Promising practice visits are an essential part of the Ready Schools process. When districts explore innovative education models like Cardinal Manufacturing, they discover solutions to stakeholder needs and strategies that fit their local context. Cardinal Manufacturing has served as such a model for several Uplands student-run businesses. Today, the Indiana Uplands leads the state with 15 student-run businesses embedded in middle and high schools.