Hawken School

In the fall of 2013, Hawken School pioneered the teaching of entrepreneurship to high school students with its semester program in Entrepreneurial Studies. Entrepreneurial Studies is an experiential, problem-based course that is based at the School ’s urban extension center in Cleveland’s University Circle. It is designed as a forward-focused, interdisciplinary, honors-level course for juniors and seniors, with students earning 3 Honors credits: one each in English, history and finance. The structure allows students to take two additional core courses and participate in extracurricular activities at the main campus. Unique to the course, students work with Cleveland entrepreneurs, who present real and urgent business problems outlined in a scope of work, complete with hard deliverables and deadlines. The use of real-world problems piques the students’ curiosity and sense of urgency drives the curriculum, while the course instructor provides students with the scaffolding, resources and business background necessary to better understand the complexities and interconnectedness of business model blocks and a startup’s limited resources. The curriculum also incorporates the experiential entrepreneurship methodology of serial entrepreneur and Stanford Professor Steve Blank’s Lean Launchpad™ (LLP). Hawken is the first preschool through grade 12 school in the country to adopt the methodology currently used by the top graduate schools and the National Science Foundation. Hawken is also the first preschool through grade 12 school to use Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas in conjunction with LLP. Entrepreneurial Studies engages students in active learning and cultivates their creative and innovative instincts. Throughout the course, students gain the ability to problem solve, think critically, make well-informed decisions, communicate effectively, and engage in productive team work. They learn marketing, finance, and other business disciplines, while also acquiring organizational skills such as time management and leadership development. Of equal importance, the class is aligned, almost seamlessly, with Hawken ’s mission to develop character, intellect, and resilience in students.