New Berlin School District seniors in the Advanced
Innovation and Design course presented their solutions
to challenges in areas such as business, technology and
health care during the first Pitch Night on Monday.
NEW BERLIN - High
school students from New Berlin Eisenhower and New
Berlin West high schools participated in the school
district's first-ever Pitch Night for Advanced
Innovation and Design students on Monday. The New Berlin
School District, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Lubar
Center for Entrepreneurship and The Commons were all
partners for the event. Pitch Night is the climax for
students in the iAID course. The course is intended to
prepare students for a 21st century innovation economy
where they will be tasked with solving ambiguous and
difficult challenges that may not have a single right
"It's a very
independent course," said Laura Schmidt, strategic
advisor to Superintendent Joe Garza. "They had to do a
lot on their own."
Seniors from both
high schools had to successfully complete some sort of
college-level classwork to take the iAID course. It
gives highly capable students the chance to get out of a
traditional classroom environment and show what they
know. They worked in collaborative teams with
professional mentors to try and solve real-world
education, there's a lot of content and they're asked to
apply that content in not a very realistic way," Schmidt
Using business models
challenges students to work through a business model and
solve a problem based on the team's research. Some of
the companies that provided mentors and advisors are
Harley-Davidson, Humana, Aurora Health Care and Experis.
For one challenge, students were asked to use the TOMS
shoes company "TOMS One-for-One" model to create a
lasting impact in a new market or with a new product/
service. The goal was to sell something with enough of a
markup that a second product can be given out somewhere
else to make a positive impact. For another challenge,
students needed to explore the monthly box subscription
model and apply it to a new market or product category.
The New Berlin
district partnered with The Commons in an effort to
develop true challenges for the students. The Commons is
a collaboration between various universities, local
businesses and entrepreneurs to mentor young
professionals in a real-world experience.
"We really wanted
the challenges to be at a high level of rigor and to let
the teams take it in their own direction," Schmidt said.
Pitch Night, students offered their solutions to
challenges in technology, health care, engineering and
global business. This year's challenges allowed students
to better understand the role of business in social
change, the future of smart technology in community
development, the impact of technology on patient care
and how to effectively launch a new product in a
competitive technology market.
"Every one has a
technology component because of its importance in the
student's lives," Schmidt said.
presentations were judged by The Commons Innovation
Fellows, alumni of The Commons program who have had a
similar experience to iAID at the college level.
To learn more
about The Commons, visit thecommonswi.com.