Jermaine Bell & Kathleen Mazurek on their Youth Showcase at Impact Hub
Jermaine Bell approached me in spring 2016 with an opportunity to present a youth showcase at Impact Hub. Over the course of three months, we worked together the draft parameters, space needs and permission slips to ensure that both sides of the equation had everything that they needed. From the school administration side, we ensured that parents would transport children to keep costs and resources down and from the start up side, we kept our numbers low and met in the evening, so as not to disrupt the flow of the workday for the startups sharing the space.
What were the biggest challenges in establishing the showcase?
Initially, transportation was the largest concern, but by reducing it from a field trip to a showcase, we were able to provide a richer experience for the students involved. I had a month to work with the students chosen and keep lines of communication open with families.
What was essential for success (e.g. relationship with your landlord, tax documents, etc.)?
Youth were the forefront of every conversation. Jermaine has young nieces and nephews and thought of all of the psychological effects of the space and planned for transitions and small safe spaces so students felt at ease. Trust and communication was essential on both sides.
How have you grown the community?
Initially, I had asked if one start up office could provide a tour and Jermaine was able to ensure we had a panel of judges for the showcase–Charlotte James of Code In the Schools, Cary Euwer and Maged Abdelsalam of Bramblelab and Jermaine himself. In addition to a 3D scanning demo from Fusiform. After the showcase, we were able to arrange a digital portfolio review for a youth and one of the panelists. Upon hearing about our youth showcase, other coworking spaces expressed interest in hosting students.
Jermaine has young nieces and nephews and thought of all of the psychological effects of the space and planned for transitions and small safe spaces so students felt at ease. Trust and communication was essential on both sides.
What were your big milestones for success?
Our milestone of success was parent investment. We received an immediate return of permission slips from parents. Parents are important partners in education and showcases allow them time for their family to shine.
What would you have done differently?
Next time, I would inquire about hosting an event on the weekend, in that we would draw a larger crowd and it would be less pressure on families.
How do you scale?
Five students is very easy to scale an plan in advance. Additionally, it emphasizes the importance of celebrating consistant, exceptional work. To scale the idea, it would be great to refer teachers to this wiki so they can expand the notion of innovation and STEAM learning in the classroom to include showcases and seek out partnerships with co-working spaces.
What do you have planned next / what’s the next step?
It would be great to plan an annual summer showcase and collaborate with additional co-working spaces.
Anything else you think future educators should know?
Reach out to professional organizations outside of education that relate to your content area. More youth partners exist than you realise.