With less than two weeks until their product hits the shelves, the students in Mrs. Sarah Beeston’s Business Education 10 class are busy making sure they’ve taken care of every little detail in their business strategy.
The list of outstanding tasks to accomplish today is long, but the students divide themselves quickly to work through problems like sourcing brown 1-lb coffee bags, completing the logo and poster design, pricing out printing and designing a table display.
“This idea really only came about a couple of weeks ago, so like any real-life business we had a tight turnaround. I approached [Head of Experiential Education] Reagan Daly with this idea to partner my business class with the Grade 10 experiential students who are roasting coffee,” Sarah says. “They have coffee and are focusing on learning how to roast, we are thinking about business and how to marketing a product; why not collaborate and try to brand the coffee and create a business plan?”
School Grounds Coffee began four years ago as part of the Grade 10 Experiential Program. Reagan and fellow Senior School teacher Mr. Kyle Shaw have run this experiential ‘cohort’ since its inception, which teaches students skills like coffee roasting and barista training, as well as some marketing and sales skills.
This year’s Grade 10 coffee roasters are only just starting to learn the ins and outs of coffee roasting, but with Kyle and Reagan’s guidance, this week they roasted 80 lbs of beans for the Business Education students to sell.
Sarah says it has been a positive experience so far seeing her students dive into the project head-first.
“I’m seeing them really get a sense of how much work it takes and how much thought it takes to brand a product and get it to market, as well as the importance of collaboration,” she says.
And her students agree that this kind of firsthand experience is the best way to learn about business and marketing.
“It’s really interesting getting a chance to work on a real-world situation,” says Grade 10 student Dewi Wahono. “It’s not just a mock simulation where we can’t really see it through. Everything we’re working on is leading up to Parent-Teacher Conferences at the end of the month, so we’ll be able to see how it all turns out.”
The end goal, as Dewi says, is to have School Grounds coffee on display and for sale at the Senior School Student-Teacher-Parent Conferences on November 29 and December 3. Some of the money raised from the coffee sales will be donated to the Single Parent Resource Centre in Victoria.
“We’re doing this to be more invested in the business experience and to understand how a business works, how to make a profit and how to deal with customers,” says Grade 10 student David Simon.
The project is a one-off experience for the Business Education students, as students in the School Grounds experiential will get the chance to learn marketing and branding skills as the year progresses.
Reagan says he hopes to find more Grade 10 courses that work in partnership with the experiential opportunities, to build further connections between academics and these experiences.
“This is a sort of pilot initiative, but there are opportunities within other departments to connect things like the alternative energy cohort with science classes and the sports analytics cohort with math classes,” Reagan says. “I think the students get a lot out of the experiences. Where we can find nuggets to apply to the academic courses, that’s a natural thing to do. Then we bolster the learning for the students in that cohort and in that academic class.”