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Calling All Local Businesses - A Letter From North Polk Middle School Leadership & Entrepreneurship Students

Calling All Local Businesses - A Letter From North Polk Middle School Leadership & Entrepreneurship Students

January 2024

Dear Local Businesses -

Please consider helping us out! Last spring, we were fortunate to be able to partner with nine local businesses for short-term, real-world projects to satisfy curriculum needs/standards for our leadership/entrepreneurship class. Because it was such a valuable experience, we’re asking local businesses to consider partnering with us once again this school year. We’d love to work with some businesses we didn’t get a chance to work with last year, but we’d also be willing to build on partnerships we started last year - either by taking a project to the next level or even trying something new and different.

If this business/school partnership idea is new to you, the real-world project idea/s that we have in mind comes about in several different ways. Sometimes businesses have an upcoming project - or vice-versa - a project that’s been at the bottom of their to-do list for a while that would be a perfect fit for students to work on. Other times, students help the businesses generate ideas for the project/s. Either way, we try to do the brunt of the brainstorming/research/project work in our regular classroom with our classroom teacher guiding and supervising us. You, our business partner, would be available via phone or Zoom for the occasional questions we might have. And if you’d like, you’re more than welcome to swing by our classroom sometime to see how things are going. 

Some examples of projects we are able and willing to do based on our strengths and interests are:

  • Assist with organizing an event

  • Design ways to beautify something

  • Generate ideas to improve morale in the workplace

  • Partner together for a non-profit volunteering project

  • Help with social media ideas

  • Assist with designing/creating marketing/promotional pieces such as logos, water bottle/laptop stickers, flyers, videos, and/or websites

  • Assist with a way to assess/evaluate something

  • Help design a product or workflow solution

  • Assemble something

To give you an idea of what these partnerships/projects looked like last year, below is a list of the businesses we worked with and the projects we worked on, and here is a slideshow that showcases our journey.

  • On With Life: We created a bike helmet safety awareness contest and helmet giveaway promotion for North Polk elementary students.
  • Firefly Wellness: We created a business flyer and water bottle/laptop stickers using Canva.
  • United Salem Church: We drafted two new church logos, reached out to P & M apparel to price t-shirts, and created a slideshow presentation that was used at the church board meeting to present the logo designs and t-shirt prices.
  • The Creamery: We brainstormed new weekly feature flavors, made promotional ads on Canva, created a timeline for rolling out weekly features, and came up with some marketing suggestions.
  • Luana Savings Bank: We brainstormed and researched ideas for a customer appreciation day.
  • Polk City Public Library: We designed elementary and middle school public library programming events.
  • Polk City Fire Dept: We brainstormed, researched, and gathered a list of ways that the fire department can further connect with the community during the Four Seasons Festival and Ragbrai.
  • American Alarms: We created a brochure, suggested ideas for social media headlines and articles, and generated a list of event ideas in partnership with other businesses.
  • Big Creek Historical Society: We generated a list of potential event ideas for the Beebe Cemetary Rededication, and researched costs, and where to purchase supplies.

Through these business partnerships, we made valuable connections within our community, learned a bit about what it takes to run a business, and continued to develop our teamwork, communication, project management, research, and critical thinking skills. Businesses gained fresh perspectives and ideas, connected with the school community in a meaningful way, and helped develop the skills of future leaders and entrepreneurs.

Below is an approximate timeline of this year’s project. It’s a bit different than last year’s timeline in that our leadership/entrepreneurship class will be meeting every other day over 15 weeks rather than every day over six weeks.

Between now and Feb. 15: Businesses considering a partnership should email our teacher, Mrs. Danielle Wolfe, at danielle.wolfe@northpolk.org to express interest. She’ll respond with a follow-up email and call to gather some information from you and answer any questions you might have.

Timelines:

Feb. 22 is the first day of our leadership/entrepreneurship class. In the first days of class, Mrs. Wolfe will let us know the businesses interested in partnering with us so we can have discussions around potential project ideas, gauge interest, and begin making decisions on which individual students or student groups would be a good fit for which project. From there, Mrs. Wolfe will get back to potential business partners to set up a time for them to meet with students either in person at school or via Zoom to share a bit about their business and potential project idea/s. The plan is to get business partners and projects locked in by the end of February/beginning of March.

March - May: We’ll dive in and begin tackling the projects at school. Our teacher will find a time for us to touch base with our business partners periodically via Zoom or in person so we can update them on our progress and get feedback to continue moving forward. 

May - Sometime during May, we’ll need to present our final work to our business partners. We can do this in person or via Zoom.

We understand you may need more information before you consider or commit to a partnership with us; therefore, here is a Business Partner Toolkit (we do a simplified version of the overall plan listed in the toolkit) and a video link from Future Ready Iowa and the Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning that might help. Our teacher is also more than happy to speak with you as you are considering a potential partnership. Her email is danielle.wolfe@northpolk.org

Thank you for reading our letter and your consideration of joining us for this exciting venture!

Sincerely, 

North Polk Middle School Leadership & Entrepreneurship Students