Return to Headlines

MCHS Teachers Share Expertise In Student-Run Businesses

When clients order banners, posters, t-shirts and more from the MCHS Print Shop, trained and educated McHenry High School students design, coordinate and produce each item.

It is that business approach to high school education that has drawn the interest of area educators. And it has prompted a pair of McHenry High School teachers to develop a presentation to offer other Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers a glimpse at the positives of student-run businesses.

Matt Connor and Dan Rohman jointly presented “Student Run Business for Credit While Learning Life Skills,” at the annual Connections Conference, a Career and Technical Education initiative of Illinois State University. This year’s conference took place March 6-7 (Wednesday and Thursday) at the Tinley Park Convention Center.

Connor, a CTE teacher who oversees the MCHS Print Shop at East Campus, said his student-run business has grown substantially in the seven years he’s been at East, and it has attracted interest of other school administrators. Connor’s upper-level Graphics students handle each job from start to finish, with a little help from him.

“We run a full business in 7th and 8th hour,” he said. “They are actually learning on-the-job life skills.”

Connor said his students are doing custom made banners, screen printing, vinyl decals, and more. At the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, students designed and wrapped two driver’s education cars.

While Connor’s part of the presentation centers on the specifics of running a student-led business, Rohman plans to talk about how to partner with the community to get a student-run business off the ground.

“I focused on how to sell the program,” Rohman said.

He’s already been selling his construction technology program by changing it from a semester to a full year. The next step is to take on more projects.

Last fall, Rohman’s construction students partnered with McHenry’s Downtown Business Association to build a Santa House for holiday festivities. The successful project led Rohman and others to discuss building sheds and other small buildings for the community.

“We’re still very much in the infancy stage,” Rohman said. Even though it is early, there’s a lot of interest, he said.